It may seem a bit premature, but the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity is already calling on the public to recycle their cards this Christmas to help plant thousands of trees across the UK.
They say that for every 1,000 cards dropped in to M&S stores for recycling throughout January, a new tree will be planted in the UK.
The Woodland Trust and M & S have been working together since 2008 on the Christmas Card Recycling Scheme. In 2012 the retailer took over the reins of the scheme and it has gone from strength to strength – customers have helped to collect more than 32 million cards since then. It is the longest running scheme of its type in the country.
Joanne Mathieson, fundraiser at the Woodland Trust, said: “The beauty of this scheme is in its simplicity. Simply collect up those cards after Christmas that are often lying about, take them to your local M & S store – there are bins in most stores – and M & S will do the rest. Not only will the cards be recycled, but where it differs to your kerbside recycle bins is that native trees will be planted right here in the UK too. The more cards collected, the more trees we can plant so please join in and drop your cards off at M&S!“
The UK is one of the least wooded countries in Europe with just 13 per cent woodland cover compared to the European average of 42 per cent. These numbers need boosting because native trees and woods make unique homes for British wildlife such as the dormouse and help them adapt to climate change. Trees improve the air we breathe, reduce flooding and capture carbon.
Last year 6,255,833 cards were collected, enabling the Woodland Trust to plant 6,256 trees throughout the UK. The popularity of the scheme means it will run again this year. Special card collection bins will be in M&S stores from 2 January to 31January 2016.
The M&S Christmas Card Recycling Scheme is now in its fifth year, and the UK is 32,000 trees richer thanks to the public’s efforts in dropping cards in to store each January, rather than distributing in kerbside recycling bins.
Alexis Steadman, Plan A Community Relations Manager at M&S said: “A key part of our ethical and environmental programme is helping our customers to live a more sustainable lifestyle, and this brilliant scheme plays an important role in this work. By simply popping into your local M&S and dropping your cards into the collection boxes, customers can help the Woodland Trust to continue turning unwanted waste into much needed trees and preserving the habitat of thousands of species all around the UK.”
Julie Waters and her seven year old daughter Grace Waters-Doherty, from Bangor, Northern Ireland, recycle their Christmas cards at M & S every year – collecting hundreds over the years.
Grace said: “When I grow up I’d like to work with the tree people and help the trees.”
Julie said: “It is nice to do some good, now that Grace is seven she knows all about the importance of helping the environment. Tree cover in Northern Ireland is pretty dismal so to it is great that we can do our bit to redress this balance.”
The Woodland Trust has been planting trees and standing up for woodland for 40 years. Today, the charity owns more than 1,000 woods which are open year round for the public to enjoy free of charge.
Find out more at woodlandtrust.org.uk/