Photo by Gary Chan on Unsplash

Reducing your carbon footprint this festive season need not be a daunting task, says recycling boss.

“With the end of the year looming, many individuals, households and businesses begin to file, archive and clean out cupboards and storerooms to make space for the new year. These efforts often generate large amounts of unwanted paper. Couple this with the extra packaging and wrapping from festive gifts and season celebrations and you have yourself a stack of paper waste,” said managing director of Mpact Recycling John Hunt.

The company said in a statement that refuse needed to be checked for items that could be recycled.  

"So before you even throw that piece of paper into the dustbin, throw it into a separate bag or bin. Importantly, milk and juice cartons can now be recycled too."

He said that in addition to getting recyclable items to their nearest school or community paper bank or their nearest buy-back recycling centre, South Africans could consider converting or reusing some of these everyday items, giving them a new purpose this Christmas season.

"In the interest of sustainability, paper can be 'up-cycled' into decorations. Magazine paper can be used to create miniature Christmas trees or festive bows for gifts. Children can get into the holiday spirit by making paper chains out of scrap paper and using a little festive glitter to spruce them up."

Plastic can also be used to create Christmas gifts. 

"Different coloured plastic bottle tops can be used to make bead curtains and two-litre plastic bottles can be used to create Christmas lamps, vertical herb gardens or handy holders for stationery, buttons and other knick-knacks."

The Mercury