Advent calendars pose major environmental and recycling problems

Waste and recycling company BusinessWaste estimates there are 16.5 million advent calenders containing single-use plastics in circulation this year, enough to stretch from London to the North Pole. 

According to the company, it will be impossible to recycle all of these advent calendars because of the mix of materials used to make them. This will mean that the majority will end up either being burned or dumped into a landfill.

Modern advent calendars are no longer just made of cardboard but are now made with a mix of plastic and silver foil.

According to BusinessWaste, because they have been glued together, it is expensive to recycle them and therefore it is more economically viable for waste companies to either burn them or dump them in a landfill.

Many well-meaning attempts to recycle the advent calendars by putting them into household recycling bins will mean that entire lorry loads of recycling waste will be rejected because they contain a mix of materials and are thus deemed to be contaminated.

Mark Hall, a spokesperson for BusinessWaste has said: ‘Long gone are the days when kids would open the window of their card-backed advent calender to see the picture hidden behind.’

‘We’re a society based on instant gratification, we want more, that means advent calendars are made with even better gifts inside.’

Mr Hall has encouraged individuals to consider alternatives to the traditional, mass-produced, disposable advent calendars.

He suggests that instead, individuals use refillable advent calenders where you fill them up with your own treats and then keep it for the following year when Christmas is over.

Mr Hall concluded: ‘We want people to dump the damaging convenience items that surround the festive season, use a bit of imagination and make it a proper family occasion.’

‘If we can do this while protecting the environment, we’re quite happy to take all the Scrooge-Grinch criticism on the chin in order to make the world a better place.’

In related news, 50% of Brits will need a receipt to return or exchange a Christmas present this year, but the vast majority will not be able to due to missing or discarded paper receipts, according to research conducted by banking app Flux.

Photo Credit – Pixabay


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