​​​​​​​Wales urged to BE MIGHTY at recycling this Yuletide and take the nation to number one in the world

14 December 2021

  • 94%** of Wales recycles and nearly half the population is recycling even more items than last year
  • More recycling this Christmas could help Wales to claim the number one spot in global recycling

With Wales currently in third place in global recycling, the nation can push for the number one spot by recycling as much as possible over the festive period. WRAP Cymru and the Welsh Government are urging people to ‘Be Mighty’ and to go even further to ensure this Christmas is truly green.

WRAP Cymru – the charity behind Wales Recycles and the Be Mighty campaign – is calling on households to continue their good work and be especially careful with their recycling this Christmas. It’s advising that if unsure whether an item can be recycled to first check the recycling details on pack, then check the relevant council website for unfamiliar items to ensure that any unfamiliar items end up in the right place, so that we’re recycling everything that can be.  

This festive season ‘Be Mighty’ will help people avoid common mistakes and make recycling Christmas even easier. The festive campaign, which begins today (Tuesday 14 December) will highlight the simple ways we can boost our recycling by focussing on the key festive items with advice on www.bemightyrecycle.org.uk.

The campaign will focus on core items that routinely arise at Christmas, with an impactful social media campaign in Welsh and English to highlight how to recycle turkey bones, sprout stalks, teabags, cardboard, plastic sweet tubs (not wrappers), mince pie cases, cans, and plastic shampoo bottles/hand soap. Collection crews will also be celebrated as part of the campaign, with the message that recycling is not just for Christmas – but for all year round. The website is full of recycling advice and tips, and there’s even a special hamper competition to enter.

Bettina Gilbert, Head of Programme Delivery WRAP Cymru, said:

“Christmas is the time when we all relax, but can also be when we create more waste than most weeks. We want to help people recycle everything they can – even down to the last sprout. With COP26 as a stark reminder of the need to act on climate change, we know Wales already recycles brilliantly and want to make Christmas even greener this year. Not wasting food and recycling materials are two essential ways in which we can all help reduce greenhouse gases connected with our consumption as a nation. This Christmas, the Be Mighty campaign will help households to do just that.”

Minister for Climate Change Julie James said:

“Our recycling stats are world class thanks to a Team Wales effort and show what we can achieve when government, business and the third sector work together towards a common goal.”

“We all know that more waste is created in the festive season and so I encourage everyone to apply these helpful tips to make this an extra green Christmas and help us in our drive to become the number one recycling nation in the world.”

Wales Recycles’ 12 Days of Christmas Recycling Tips

Wales Recycles has brought the 12 Days of Christmas to life by showcasing 12 common festive items that can all be recycled from chocolate tubs and foil mince pie cases, to turkey trimmings and vegetable peelings. By keeping up the good work we can help Wales on its mighty mission to get to number one in the world for recycling.

1. Recycle your teabags

69% people in Wales recycle their tea bags. Recycling two tea bags via your food waste caddy can create enough electricity to fully charge a smartphone.

2. Bottle shaped – then recycle it!

Today, 90% of us recycle plastic bottles from drinks bottles to cleaning products and toiletries. Empty, crush and replace the lids to recycle, and remove any pump dispensers and trigger sprays as these can’t be recycled. Recycling just one shampoo bottle saves enough energy to power a stereo for five hours.

3. Conquer your cardboard packaging

We use more cardboard at Christmas than any other time of year. 92% of people in Wales recycle their cardboard. Remember to remove any packaging tape and flatten boxes to save space in your recycling container.

4. Have yourself a cleaner, greener Christmas

Recycle your empty hand soap bottles when you’ve finished washing your hands after cleaning up your Christmas party. Leave on any lids, labels, pouring spouts and spray triggers, these will be removed in the recycling process. 90% of people in Wales recycle their empty hand soap bottles, just rinse, squash and recycle!

5. Foil mince pie cases

Metal can be recycled indefinitely without losing quality – and that includes the humble mince pie case and foil used in cooking (that’s clean). 70% of Wales recycle our foil. Scrunch foil items before recycling and remove any food parts from foil first. Empty and rinse foil containers.

6. Think food first at Christmas

You can recycle turkey bones, veg peelings, and any leftovers from your Christmas dinner (that can’t be safely eaten later in front of the TV). And don’t forget other unavoidable food wastes such as tea bags, coffee grounds, eggshells, peelings and cores from fruit, and stale bread. Make sure it goes in your food waste caddy for recycling. Most of us recycle our food waste in Wales and one caddy full of food waste can produce enough energy to power a TV for two hours of Bond.

7. Keep crushing cans this Christmas

Whether you’re sipping on an alcoholic beverage or refreshing soft drink, don’t forget to recycle your cans. Recycling one can saves enough energy to power a hoover for an hour.

8.  Keeping giving with glass

Glass is easy to recycle, and it can be recycled into new products again and again. Give empty wine, beer and soft drink glass bottles a rinse and pop the lid or cap back on before putting into your recycling. Clean jars of pickles, chutneys and condiments can be recycled too.

9. Recycle your plastic chocolate tubs

It takes 75% less energy to make a bottle from recycled plastic than using raw materials. Most plastic can be recycled, including the big tubs of chocolates and sweets we have around the house at Christmas. If you sort your recyclable items into separate containers, place this into your container for your ‘plastics and cans’. Remove any wrappers first. 90% of people recycle plastic tubs.

10. Christmas trees

'Real' Christmas trees are 100% recyclable. Check with your local council to see if they'll collect them with your garden waste or if you can take them to your local recycling centre. Plastic Christmas trees can be reused year after year but when it comes time to recycle them, they should be recycled with rigid plastics at your local recycling centre.

11. Advent calendar packaging

Once you’ve opened the final door of your advent calendar and you’re ready to get rid of the packaging, separate the cardboard from the inner tray. The outer cardboard packaging can be flattened and recycled, while the inner tray cannot be recycled so put in your general rubbish bin for your non-recyclable waste. Eat the chocolate.

12. Christmas cards and envelopes

Christmas cards can be recycled but remove any ribbons, bows, glitter, foil and money before putting into your recycling. If your paper and card is recycled separately, place cards in your cardboard container and place envelopes in your paper container. 

Notes to Editor

  • **WRAP Recycling Tracker Results October 2021.
  • To access the BE MIGHTY. RECYCLE: Christmas 2021 resource assets, please visit the WRAP Cymru website.
  • New data released by Welsh Government shows that despite the challenges of COVID-19, Wales’ recycling continues to exceed its target of 64% and rose to the highest rate ever at 65.4% in 2020-21.
  • In Wales, the top ten items most commonly contaminating kerbside recycling are:  
  1. Food & drink foil pouches
  2. Drinking glasses
  3. Plastic film lids
  4. Toothpaste tubes
  5. Plastic wrapping film
  6. Plastic frozen veg bags
  7. Plastic carrier bags
  8. Glass cookware
  9. Cartons and Tetrapak
  10. Tissue and paper towels
  • WRAP is a global NGO based in the UK. It is one of the UK’s top 5 environmental charities and works with governments, businesses and individuals to ensure that the world’s natural resources are used more sustainably. It is the charity leading the UK Plastics Pact (a world first), Courtauld Commitment 2030, Textiles 2030 as well as the citizen campaigns Love Food Hate Waste, Love Your Clothes, Clear on Plastics and Recycle Now. WRAP works collaboratively and develops and delivers evidence-based, solutions to reduce the environmental cost of the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the plastic packaging we use. Founded in 2000 in the UK, WRAP now works around the world and is a Global Alliance Partner of The Royal Foundation’s Earthshot Prize.   
  • Follow our campaigns on Instagram: @lfhw_uk @recyclenow_uk @WalesRecycles @ClearOnPlastics @LoveYourClothes_UK 
  • WRAP experts are available for broadcast interviews, briefings and comment – contact: 07951 346196 or email media.enquiries@wrap.org.uk