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What Can Be Recycled at Christmas?

what can be recycled at christmas

No sooner after hanging up your Christmas decorations is it time to take them down again. That goes not only for the tinsel and wreaths embellishing your walls and windows, but also the slew of Christmas cards on your windowsill, the jumbled wrapping paper strewn across your carpet and the 6ft Christmas tree whose silhouette you mistake for an intruder every time you venture downstairs for a glass of water at 3am.

And if you’re unsure whether it’s time to take down your Christmas decorations — just look outside your window. If your neighbour is glaring at you, then it’s time.

But the good news is you don’t need to throw it all away. A lot of your Christmas decorations can be recycled, and even if they can’t — you can store them away and use them again next year. Don’t send things to landfill needlessly. That’s how you end up on Santa’s naughty list.

This article will detail how to dispose of your Christmas items responsibly. 


Can you recycle Christmas cards?

can you recycle christmas cards

Christmas card disposal and recycling Christmas cards can be tricky. Plain Christmas cards can be recycled, but those with embellishments can’t. And a lot of Christmas cards have embellishments. We’re talking Christmas cards with glitter, foil, glue, bows and 3D prints. If your Christmas cards have any of these features, they won’t be suitable for recycling as they could contaminate the waste stream. Instead, dispose of your Christmas cards in your general waste bin.

The same applies to envelopes. Unlike Christmas cards, most envelopes are completely plain and therefore can be recycled. However, any embellishments may render the envelope non-recyclable. 


Can you recycle your Christmas tree?

can you recycle christmas trees

Real Christmas trees can be recycled. Simply chop your Christmas tree up into small pieces and place it in your garden waste bin. If you don’t have the tools to chop up your Christmas tree, don’t worry — your local council will have information on how to recycle it. Some even offer a collection service.

Fake Christmas trees can’t be recycled, but you can store them away and use them year after year. 

Remember to remove all decorations before recycling your tree. Natural decorations such as wreaths and mistletoe can be recycled along with the tree. Plastic decorations can’t, so you should either store them away or dispose of them in your household waste bin


Can you recycle Christmas wrapping paper?

can you recycle wrapping paper gift wrap

Most local authorities won’t accept Christmas wrapping paper for recycling. This is because Christmas wrapping paper typically contains additives to make it more ‘festive’. The paper may be dyed, laminated or contain glue, glitters and plastics — all of which render it non-recyclable.

Even if the wrapping paper is plain, it may be too thin to recycle. Wrapping paper requires good quality fibres to make it suitable for recycling. You can use the scrunch test to see whether your wrapping paper is recyclable-quality: simply scrunch up the wrapping paper and if it remains scrunched up its fibres are strong. But remember — wrapping paper is rarely plain. You can only recycle wrapping paper if it passes the scrunch test and has no additives. 

Even when torn, wrapping paper can be collected and reused the following year. And it doesn’t matter if it’s only a small amount — you can combine different sheets of used wrapping paper to wrap a gift next year. Sure it will look a little mismatched, but that’s just a special homemade touch. Plus it’s great for the environment. Two gifts in one.


Can you recycle Christmas decorations?

can you recycle christmas decorations

Glass baubles and plastic baubles are not recyclable. Tinsel also cannot be recycled, as it is made of non-recyclable plastic. 

Generally, natural decorations are recyclable. This includes wreaths, ivy, fir cones, mistletoe and holly. These can be composted or recycled at a local recycling centre as long as they are not covered in excess glitter, glue, bows or ribbons. Make sure your Christmas decorations are ‘real’ before recycling — plastic wreaths and similar plastic items cannot be recycled.


If you’re in need of a New Year clean up, why not use South Coast Skips? Rather than worrying about what is and isn’t recyclable, let us deal with it all for you. We offer skip hire and a range of recycling services to help you forget about the last year. Everything you need for responsible waste disposal can be found right here. From 2-yard mini skips to 12-yard monsta skips, we offer skips in a range of sizes, perfect for any job. And if you have items to be recycled, we also offer a range of recycling options — wood, paper, WEE and more.

Say goodbye to the last year and start fresh. Contact our team today to start your clean up project.


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