All the presents are ready to be unwrapped, advent calendar doors opened, and you’re ready for Christmas dinner! But, what can you do with everything that’s left behind? We’ve put together this list of Christmas items and the best way to recycle them!

Advent calendars – The cardboard parts of all advent calendars can be popped in your blue bin. If it’s a chocolate one with foil, make sure you get as much of the foil off as you can and put the plastic tray in the blue bin too. To save more space in the blue bin, why not try a reusable advent calendar next year? You could even make your own!

Wrapping paper, gift tags and ribbons – Wrapping paper that hasn’t got foiled, glittery designs or a plastic coating can be recycled in the blue bin. If you’re unsure about the plastic coating – give it a scrunch. Paper that bounces back and doesn’t stay scrunched up can’t be recycled. The same goes for gift tags – if they’re not foiled or glittery, remove any sticky tape and ribbons and pop them in your blue bin. Ribbons can’t be recycled but they can be reused – especially fabric ribbons.

If the thought of wrapping presents gives you a headache, look at these alternatives to wrapping that can be reused time and time again!

Gift bags – Unless they’re broken or beyond use, reuse them!

Christmas cards – Like wrapping paper, they can’t be recycled if they have foil or glitter decorations. In the picture below, the card on the left shouldn’t have been put in the blue bin because it’s foiled. You can give glittery or foiled cards a second life as present tags if you feel crafty!

Christmas cards
Christmas cards

Food packaging – There’s a lot of Christmas food packaging that can be recycled (more than you might think)!

  • Mince pie boxes and plastic trays (no foil though, thank you)
  • Biscuit and chocolate tins (plastic and metal)
  • Plastic trays for pigs in blankets, other pre-prepared food and Christmas pudding plastic basins (just give them a quick rinse first, please and remove any plastic film)
  • Chocolate selection box cardboard and plastic trays (no wrappers please)
  • Any glass and plastic bottles should be recycled in the blue bin. To save room in the bin, squash plastic bottles and pop the lids back on. Don’t forget to check other rooms in your home like the bathroom for empty shower gel and shampoo bottles!

Remember – you should always check our website to see if an item can be recycled in your blue bin, not the packaging itself.

Leftover food – Check the Love Food Hate Waste website for recipe inspiration to reinvent leftovers into tasty meals or pop it in the brown bin (loose, in a sheet or two of newspaper or a compostable bag with a seedling logo).

Christmas gift packaging – Cardboard boxes and rigid plastic trays can all be recycled. Cable ties, twist ties and any plastic film bags need to go in the black bin.

Electrical items – Please, do not put these in your blue bin. They can be recycled but you must take them to Raynesway HWRC. Putting them in the blue bin is a huge fire risk and it could cause harm to you or our refuse teams and vehicles. For larger items, some stores will take away old appliances to recycle them for you.

Batteries – These can be taken back to most stores that sell them. Most shops that sell batteries have to provide recycling facilities. As with electrical items, these should never be put in the blue (or even the black) bin.

Christmas trees – Real Christmas trees can be cut down and placed in the brown bin as long as branches and trunks are less than 12cm thick. Artificial trees should be taken to Raynesway HWRC. In some areas of the city, Treetops Hospice offer a treecycling service. They’ll collect and recycle your real Christmas tree for a donation.

Decorations – Most decorations can and should be reused year after year. Items like tinsel and baubles can’t be recycled yet. If you’ve decorated your home with natural decorations like boughs of Holly and Mistletoe, pop these in the brown bin or compost them.

Bin collections are changing over Christmas. Check your bin day online.