Christmas Recycling Dos And Don’ts

Portrait of happy young woman carrying stacked gift boxes in Christmas store.

As we approach one of the worst times of the year for household waste, Brits have been advised on how to dispose of common Christmas paraphernalia.

Penny pinching pros at have warned households not to take the easy route out by chucking everything in the general bin, and instead make the effort to learn what can and can’t be recycled. They also recommend double-checking typically recyclable items such as paper, plastic and card as they may not be suitable if adorned in shimmery, glittery designs.

A spokesperson for said: “From Christmas cards and envelopes, to foil trays and torn Christmas crackers, festive paraphernalia is aplenty in December and while much of it is recyclable, a lot of it surprisingly isn’t.

“When it comes to wrapping paper, one good rule to follow is the ‘scrunch test’. If it stays in a ball once scrunched it can go in the recycling, if not, just put it in the general waste bin.”

1 Christmas cards and envelopes

Christmas cards

Pic: Shutterstock

Do – recycle if the cards and envelopes are made of paper.

Don’t – recycle if they are covered in glitter or foil. Instead, dispose of in the general waste bin.

2 Wrapping paper

Do – remove all tags, bows, ribbons and Sellotape and try the ‘scrunch test’. If it stays in a ball once scrunched it can go in recycling.

Don’t – put it in recycling if it doesn’t stay scrunched, pop it in the general bin.

3 Food

Do – put all cooked and raw food into the food recycling bin.

Don’t – put any food in the food recycling that still has residual bits of cling film or foil, and don’t forget to remove pesky chocolate wrappers.

4 Food containers

Disposable Paper Plates and Napkins and Plastic Cutlery on a Wooden Table

Pic: Shutterstock

Do – clean any disposable paper plates, trays and party cups and add them to the paper recycling bin.

Don’t – put dirty, food stained disposable paper plates into the recycling bin.

5 Glass bottles and jars

Do – swill glass bottles and jars and put them in the recycling.

Don’t – take their lids off, the lids help them to be easily sorted and recycled separately.

6 Trees

End of Christmas. Used and abandoned cutted fir tree in garbage bin waits for collection by by garbage truck. Irresponsible behavior towards nature, save forest, keep green concept. Deforestation ban.

Pic: Shutterstock

Do – break into small pieces and dispose of in the garden waste bin. If you don’t have the equipment to do this, your local council will have information on how to recycle it. Wreaths, holly and mistletoe can also go in with garden waste.

Don’t – dispose of them in the paper recycling bin.

7 Old Christmas Lights

Pic: Shutterstock

Do – follow the electronic disposal guidelines on the set before recycling and check with the local council for recycling information.

Don’t – just chuck a set in the general bin as, believe it or not, many lights can be recycled.

8 Old toys

Do – take toys out of the packaging and put them in the general bin.

Don’t – forget to take the batteries out and dispose of them at the local battery collection point. These are available at most supermarkets and can be found online.

Moira Chisholm

I'm the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what's new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I'm on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!