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What can I recycle at Christmas?

Festive season is upon us! A season filled with parties, presents and unfortunately, a lot of rubbish! Whether it covers our festive food, carries our cases of craft ales or decorates our special gifts, packaging is everywhere at Christmas and comes in many different forms. 

Christmas Recycling is confusing. In 2021, it was estimated that each household would dispose of three-and-a-half bin bags full of festive packaging, which otherwise could be recycled. That’s why we’ve put together a handy guide to help you understand what items are recyclable this winter, so you can enjoy a sustainable Christmas.



Whilst we may think of wrapping paper as, well… paper, there are plenty of reasons to approach recycling it with caution.

Some wrapping paper actually includes plastics, and paper that is heavily dyed, laminated, decorated in gold or silver patterns, coloured shapes, or covered in any type of glitter or plastics cannot be recycled

The Scrunch Test

In order to determine whether your wrapping paper can be recycled, you can do the scrunch test. If the paper can be scrunched up into a ball and stay that way, then it more than likely will be widely recyclable. Of course, it is also best to only buy simpler and thicker paper, as this is more likely to be recyclable.

Before recycling, you must also remove any sticky tape and decorations such as ribbons and bows, as these cannot be recycled. It should also be noted that some local kerbside collections will not accept wrapping paper, so make sure to check your local council website for more information.


Christmas Recycling - Cardboard80% of toy packaging is usually made from both paper and card – both of which are fully recyclable. Just make sure you flatten these down, remove any tape, polystyrene and plastic inserts and pop them in the correct recycling box/bag! (The same goes for Christmas Cards, make sure to remove any batteries from these!)

Some councils now offer a household collection for the recycling of bubble wrap alongside plastic film and carrier bags but this is still limited. Alternatively, bubble wrap can be recycled along with plastic film and carrier bags at collection points such as supermarkets.


With plenty of new toys to play with, there will also be plenty more batteries to recycle. Thankfully, since 2010, shops selling more than 32kg of batteries a year have had to provide battery recycling collection facilities in-store, meaning there are now lots more places where you can dispose of your used batteries.

Christmas Recycling - Batteries

Some local authorities collect batteries bagged separately with household recycling, however you can also take them to your local recycling centre. You can find your local battery recycling location here.