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Festive Recycling Do's and Don'ts

Festive Recycling Do's and Don'ts

Festive Recycling Do’s and Don’ts

We all know that we should recycle more to help the environment, and many of us do. At Christmas, we all accumulate more waste, but what should you do with the endless amounts of discarded wrapping paper and Christmas cards? Here’s a guide to some festive recycling do’s and don’ts.

Christmas cards

Plain Christmas cards can easily be recycled, but any card that has glitter, glue, foil, or a 3D picture on it can’t be recycled and should be put in general waste.

Cardboard packaging

All you have to do is flatten the packaging and put it in the recycling bin. Try not to get it wet as this can make recycling a problem. If the packaging contains polystyrene, this has to go in with your general waste as it can’t be recycled.

Wrapping paper

Wrapping paper often can’t be recycled as much of it is laminated with plastic or foil. If you leave sellotape on it, it won’t be recyclable either. Very thin paper is not suitable for recycling as the thin fibres aren’t that useful. Try reusing wrapping paper where you can or otherwise put it in with your general waste.


All that glitters is not recyclable. Glitter can contaminate other waste during the recycling process, then the recycled product is rejected. If something has glitter on it, put it in your general waste bin.


Gift tags

Carboard tags can be recycled, but any tags that contain foil or glitter should be put in with your general waste.

Sweet & biscuit tins and tubs (plastic and metal)

You can reuse them as storage containers, but you can put them in the recycling if you find yourself with too many. Remove all the sweet or biscuit wrappers and packaging before you recycle them.

Christmas tree lights

These can’t be easily recycled at the moment, so they should be put into your general waste.


If you have a wreath made from natural items like holly or ivy, it can go straight into compost or garden waste bin, as long as it has no glitter on it. The base should then go into your household waste bin.


Paper chains

If you have made your own paper chains (without glitter), they can go into the normal recycling. If the paper chains are from a shop, the paper is often dyed so it’s not suitable for recycling. Either put it in your compost pile or household waste bin.


You can’t recycle glass baubles. If any of your baubles break, they must be wrapped in newspaper or kitchen roll and put into your household waste bin. Plastic baubles are made from a plastic that is not yet widely recycled. Many baubles are also covered in glitter which will contaminate the rest of the recycling. If you’re getting rid of them, they should go in household waste.


Tinsel is not recyclable, so it should go in your household bin if you’re throwing it away.

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