CHRISTMAS crackers and posh, shiny wrapping paper should be banned over the festive period, an eco-warrior expert has warned.
Single-use items like crackers are an “appalling waste” of money, resources and energy, the expert from a prominent eco-group said.
But Mark Hall, of the BusinessWaste group, says these single-use items create an “unnecessary waste” of money, resources and energy and claims consumers often abandon their “good recycling habits” on the big day.
He said the festive season creates more plastic waste than any time of year most of which goes to landfill or is burned.
The eco-group has urged people to ditch shop-bought crackers and instead make their own from “loo roll and tissue paper”.
The group also suggests families should switch from wrapping gifts in printed wrap to “brown paper and white drawing paper”
But critics say the “party police” are taking the fun out of Christmas.
Martyn James, spokesman for Resolver Group, said people should continue to have a fun, traditional Christmas, saying: “Being environmentally conscious doesn’t mean taking the fun out of Christmas! So pull those crackers and wrap those presents – and don’t let the party police bring you down.
“But it pays to do a bit of research about what can go into the recycling bin. Doing the right thing doesn’t always mean doing without.”
However, some leading companies are already heeding the gloomy warnings about Christmas’ not so sparkly future.
In October, John Lewis and Waitrose announced they would ban crackers containing plastics – and would replace them with toys made from metal and paper.
The retail giant, along with M&S, also banned plastic glitter from this year’s entire Christmas range – meaning none of the sparkly stuff on crackers, calendars, cards and wrapping paper.
BusinessWaste spokesman Mr Hall said: “With tens of millions of us celebrating Christmas, the scale of unnecessary waste is appalling.
“When you think what goes into a Christmas cracker – the plastic toy, the snap, the shiny paper hat, the ribbons – it’s all wasted. And millions of these are pulled and immediately binned every Christmas Day.
“There’s something about Christmas that makes people forget their good recycling habits. Everything seems to get stuffed into the household general waste bin over Christmas. Drink? Gluttony? Laziness? Who knows why.”
A BusinessWaste survey of 1100 UK families revealed a staggering 99% of people will throw away cracker gifts by the time Christmas Day is over.
A further 78% admitted Christmas wrapping paper is immediately thrown into a plastic bag and jammed into their household waste bin – rather than being reused for future years.