1. Choose recyclable wrapping paper

It’s paper – so you just chuck it in the recycling sack once it’s done, right? Hold on, not so fast! Unfortunately, not all wrapping paper can be recycled. Some have a plastic film coating which means they are a ‘composite’ material – making it neither paper nor plastic in terms of recycling. Other wrapping paper can’t be recycled because it contains glitter which is made from a combination of aluminium and plastic (a microplastic) and anything with glitter stuck to it is completely unrecyclable. So the next time you buy some rolls of wrapping paper, have a look at what it’s made from first.

And if you’re using ribbon and bows for fancy packaging, they also can’t be recycled, but they can be used again and again, so keep hold of them once the present is opened.

coloured rolls of wrapping paper

2. Keep ethics in mind when you buy gifts

Whilst giving a gift is an act of love, it can also have a big environmental impact. Taking into account the product’s production, packaging, use of non-recyclable hard plastic and the distance it’s travelled to reach you, there’s a lot at play. How about buying a gift experience day instead? No packaging involved. Or shop locally and buy something made or sold closer to home. The list of eco-friendly and ethically made gifts is fast increasing so there’s plenty of choice for thoughtful gift-giving.

3. Avoid glitter or choose plant-based alternatives

As mentioned, glitter is a microplastic. It isn’t recyclable and anything with glitter stuck to it is unrecyclable too. All cards and wrapping paper containing glitter must go into the black bin.

An estimated 12.7 million tonnes of plastic now enter our oceans every year, lots of which is in the form of microplastics. This Father’s Day, try and avoid picking a card with glitter in – or pick one made from ‘bio glitter’ – a plant-based alternative on the market that doesn’t cause plastic pollution! You could even go for an e-card, or a forest friendly card made from wildflower seeds to plant after.

tubs of glitter

4. Buy local food – look for organic and ethically sourced on the label

If you’re making dad a home-cooked meal for Father’s Day, try and support your local businesses. Whether it’s buying fruit and veg from the greengrocer or choosing meat from a local farm or butchers… Every penny really does make all the difference to businesses in our community.

If you fancy going a step further, then try and pick up products labelled as ‘organic’ or ‘Fairtrade’ products too. This means that they’ve been produced in an ethical and more environmentally friendly way.

However you choose to spoil dad, try and keep some of these tips in mind for a more eco-friendly Father’s Day. Check out Love Your Chelmsford for more ideas on creating a greener Chelmsford.

By Julie Weight

Julie writes stories and creates videos for Chelmsford City Council. Contact her at julie.weight@chelmsford.gov.uk or on 01245 606984.

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