Recycling Your Christmas

Once the festivities have died down, one of the biggest challenges facing us is getting rid of all the unwanted items which are part and parcel of the Christmas season. From discarded wrapping paper through to trees, uneaten mince pies, unwanted gifts, Christmas cards and more, there are lots of things which come under the heading of Christmas waste. Luckily, rather than contributing to landfill, there are plenty of other things you can do with your unwanted festive bits and bobs. Read on to discover our complete recycling guide to all things Christmas, giving you the information you need to ensure your waste is correctly and compassionately disposed of. 

Christmas cards

Although not such a popular custom as in previous years, Christmas cards are still regularly exchanged. If you have used cards you do not wish to keep, they can be recycled in paper recycling facilities, provided they don’t contain any glitter, foil or similar materials. Alternatively, used Christmas cards can be kept and used to make tree decorations, gift tags or gift boxes, ready for next year’s celebrations.

Christmas trees

Live Christmas trees can be planted outside in a tub if you wish them to continue to thrive. The local tip will have garden waste facilities where smaller trees can be disposed of. Usually, after Christmas, the tip will make special arrangements to allow for the disposal of trees of all sizes. Artificial trees can be kept year to year, but sadly can’t be recycled once they are no longer wanted. If you want to upgrade your tree, a local charity shop will usually accept the old one, provided it is in good condition. 

Unwanted Christmas food

The key to avoiding an excess of Christmas food is to minimise the amount you buy in the first place! This may sound like common sense, but many people over-buy for the season! Non-perishables can be donated to foodbanks ( or local charitable projects. Perishable goods can usually be composted or frozen as is, or converted into post-Christmas cookery recipes (a quick Google search will reveal literally hundreds of suitable recipes!) 

Wrapping paper

Most contemporary wrapping paper is designed so that it can be easily recycled using standard paper recycling facilities. Depending on the quality of the paper, it can also be used for craft projects, either as is for a decorative resource, or ripped into strips and dunked in weak wallpaper paste before being piled layer on layer to make amazing paper maché craft projects. Longer lengths of unused Christmas paper are ideal for children to draw on: simply use the blank face of the paper for painting or drawing: the bigger size makes it ideal for more ambitious projects or smaller children. 

Christmas Presents

Almost inevitably, some gifts, whilst kindly meant, just aren’t suitable for you or your family. If you have received a surprise gift which wasn’t quite what you were looking for, there is always the possibility of selling it on, or of re-gifting it. Smaller gifts are ideal as donations to charity shops or as tombola prizes. Keeping a few of the nicer gifts on hand also means that should you require a present at short notice, or a gift donation is required, you have something suitable available to offer.

We all share the same planet: disposing responsibly of your Christmas excess is a great way of showing you care, as well as potentially reducing landfill and creating something amazing from items and materials which would otherwise be discarded.