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Retailers cut glitter to help Christmas card recycling

By 24/12/2019News

This Christmas will see several retail giants including Aldi, Marks & Spencer and Tesco no longer selling festive products which have glitter on them. 

And, the paper sector has highlighted the need for quality while the aluminium packaging industry has called for councils to collect clean aluminium foil for recycling.

The removal of glitter is part of a series of initiatives by retailers to help improve the quality of materials, primarily paper and card, for recycling.

The no glitter Christmas card and wrapping range from Marks & Spencer

These actions by supermarkets range from removing black plastic to changing Christmas card packaging. Aldi noted that it has removed black plastics from all fruit and vegetable packaging and has replaced carrier bags with either paper or compostable bags.

The plastics removal along with the ‘no-glitter’ approach, is part of a 5-year plan for Aldi to “achieve 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging across all products by 2025.”


Tesco has removed non-biodegradable glitter from its plants, trees and flowers this Christmas, to make decorations more sustainable in time for the festive season, said the company.

Marks & Spencer highlighted that it has removed 50 tonnes of plastic by switching the majority of its boxed Christmas cards from plastic to card packaging and has completely removed glitter from their entire Christmas celebration range this year. The supermarket said this should boost Christmas card recycling.

Waitrose have announced that by the end of 2019 they will have removed black plastic from all their own brand products, disposed of non-biodegradable glitter from own label flowers and plants and that luxury Christmas puddings will be sold in ceramic bowls and reusable wrapping.

Sainsbury’s have said that they are committed to removing plastic packaging from Christmas crackers by the end of this year.


Giving a perspective from the UK’s largest paper recycling business, DS Smith, the company’s recycling division marketing director, Tim Price, spoke about the difficulties of recycling Christmas cards and packaging.

Alupro said that 378 million mince pies with foil trays will be sold this Christmas, and urged councils to add foil to collection systems

He said: “What you don’t want is the use of glitter and excess non-paper materials in cards, we can only make paper out of paper, it’s all about the content.”

Referencing the “scrunch test” for wrapping paper, Mr Price advised: “Some wrapping paper can be recycled depending on the paper quality, if it springs back to shape after being scrunched it usually can’t be recycled.”


According to a spokeswoman at the aluminium foil recycling body Alupro: “378 million mince pies, commonly packaged within a foil tray, are consumed at this time of year in the UK and in Europe we consume 156 million chocolate Santas wrapped in foil.”

She went on to say that Alupro “would encourage any local authority that doesn’t already collect aluminium foil to add it to their collection system – clean aluminium foil can be recycled alongside drink cans and aerosols in any kerbside system.  On a consumer level we try to highlight all the different forms that aluminium foil can appear in, such as ready-meal trays, dairy lidding, chocolate foil and household wrapping foil.”


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Source: Packaging