Can you recycle Christmas paper and cards? A guide to festive recycling dos and don’ts.
Here’s a guide on what to recycle and what you should NEVER recycle at Christmas .
It’s the same every year. Those beautiful-looking presents we’ve spent so long over – carefully wrapping, decorating with bows and and festooning with ribbons – have been ripped apart in a matter of seconds to leave an ugly pile of tattered paper.
So what next? Before it can be bundled up and shoved in the recycling bin, the wrapping – like so much of the Christmas left-overs – requires some thought.
Recycling is always a source of confusion in households, not least because what can and what can’t be recycled can differ among local councils depending on what local facilities are available.
And the added waste accrued from unwrapping presents and those extra supermarket purchases at Christmas can make us even more concerned about the environment and keen to ensure that it suffers as little as possible from the knock-on effect of over-consumption.
Everyone asks the questions ‘can you put Christmas cards in the recycle bin’? And ‘what about wrapping paper’?
Another source of uncertainty is whether there is something that should never in any circumstances be put in the recycling bin.
Local councils have handy guides to help out, a recent one has taken to Twitter to say: “Our Christmas wish is that no-one puts plastic bags, wrapping paper, polystyrene or batteries in their recycling bin!”
So, taking that good former advice, here is a guide to Christmas recycling which, as will soon become clear, contains some dos and some very definite don’ts.
Can you recycle the following?
Plain Christmas cards, yes, but not those with glitter. Many cards can be recycled in the main part of the recycling bin but any card which has glitter, glue, is over-printed in foil or a 3D image cannot be recycled. These will contaminate the waste stream and must be disposed of through your household bin.
Cardboard packaging can be squashed flat and recycled in the main part of the recycling bin. Try not to t leave cardboard outside this bin for collection as it can become wet and this causes major problems at the recycling plant.
No. This cannot be recycled and must go in the household bin.
No. Wrapping paper cannot be recycled because it is often laminated with plastic, foil or other non-paper materials. Much of it is also contaminated by sticky tape which is not recyclable and can disrupt the recycling process. Some wrapping paper is very thin and contains few good quality fibres so is not suitable for recycling. Either save and re-use or dispose of it in your household waste bin.
A big recycling no. Any glitter in a recycling bin – whether ion a card, wrapping paper or a decoration – will find its way into the recycling process and will end up contaminating the finished product so that means the whole lot will be rejected by the paper company. Glitter anywhere in the recycling bin will contaminate the entire lorry load of recyclables. Anything containing glitter should therefore be put in your household waste bin.
Cardboard tags can be recycled but, again, only if there isn’t any foil or glitter.
Drinks bottles and cans
Boxes for mince pies or party food
Yes but only if they’re not contaminated with food waste.
Metal and plastic sweet and biscuit tins/tubs
Yes. Big sweet tins or tubs make great storage containers, but if you have too many you can recycle them in the main part of the recycling bin. Do ensure that all wrappers and packaging are removed first.
Christmas tree lights
Currently, Christmas tree lights cannot be easily recycled so do not put them in the recycling bin – put them straight into your household waste bin.
No. But remember that batteries can be easily disposed of by taking them to a supermarket as most stores will have a recycling receptacle especially for batteries.
If you have a wreath made from natural materials like ivy, holly or fir tree clippings, you can compost the greenery once you have removed it from its base (provided there is none of the dreaded glitter) or place the greenery in your garden waste bin. The base can then be dropped into your household bin.
If you have made your own paper chains from plain paper and there is no glitter on them, please recycle them.
If the paper chains have been bought from a shop, these are generally not suitable for recycling as they are often dyed in vivid colours and the paper has very short fibres. The best option is to either compost them or put them in your household waste bin.
Glass baubles are not recyclable – if any glass baubles break, wrap them carefully and dispose of them in the household waste bin.
Plastic baubles are usually made from types of plastic which are not widely collected yet in the UK. Many are also covered with glitter which contaminates other recycling materials. You could donate to a local charity or dispose of through your household bin.
Tinsel is not recyclable, so if it has finally lost its sparkle then dispose of it in your household bin.
Bows and ribbons
Do not recycle bows and ribbons – either reuse them or dispose of them in your household bin.
Check out you local council recycling centres. Many of them now have a dedicated area in which households can dispose of their Christmas trees eco friendly.
If you have signed up for garden waste collections, you can chop up your tree and put it into your garden waste bin for collection when the service begins again in April.