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Last Updated: Friday, 24 December, 2004, 00:10 GMT
Calls to recycle Christmas waste
Christmas cards are thrown out in their millions
Up to one billion cards and 83 square km of wrapping paper will be thrown away this Christmas - much of it needlessly - the government has said.

In all enough rubbish to fill 400,000 double-decker buses will be produced, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

Half of the festive waste could be recycled, but more than 80% will be binned, it claimed.

It is calling on people to recycle jars, bottles, cans and unwanted gifts.

Recycling points

Britons will also use 24 million jars of mincemeat, pickle and cranberry sauce, Defra said.

If these glass jars were recycled, it would save enough energy to boil water for 60 million cups of tea, said Environment Minister Elliot Morley.

Further waste is created by the traditional Christmas meal, with around 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging and 4,200 tonnes of foil expected to be thrown out.

And, once the festive season is over, about six million Christmas trees will be binned, creating more than 9,000 tonnes of waste.

'Clear benefits'

"This Christmas, Britain will generate millions of tonnes of rubbish, most of which will languish in landfill sites," said Mr Morley. "This needn't be so.

"Recycling is easier than it has ever been before so everyone can do their bit.

"The benefits of recycling to the environment are clear."

People are urged to recycle materials like glass, paper and cans through kerbside collection schemes and local recycling points, while many councils will also be collecting Christmas trees when the festive season ends.

How your Christmas waste can be recycled

Green Christmas urged by council
23 Dec 04 |  Norfolk
City's 33m to improve recycling
23 Dec 04 |  West Yorkshire
Plea to recycle Christmas rubbish
21 Dec 04 |  Northern Ireland

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