Christmas recycling

Please do not dispose of the following in your red recycling bin. 

Put them in your grey bin instead.

You can continue to recycle cardboard packaging, boxes, plastic bottles, glass bottles and jars, food and drink cans in your red recycling bin. You can also take these items to one of the recycle bring bank sites or at Chalvey Household Waste Recycling Centre.

Recycle your Christmas tree

Bind and old christmas tree250 tonnes of Christmas trees are simply thrown away after Christmas.* If you have a real Christmas tree, the most environmentally conscious way to dispose of it after Christmas is to compost it. If you cannot compost your Christmas tree yourself, you can bring it, free of charge, to Chalvey Household Waste Recycling Centre.

Make sure all decorations, tree stands, soil, pots and netting have been removed.

What happens to the trees

They are either composted or turned into chippings which will be used as a mulch to spread on the flower beds. Mulch will suppress weed growth and help the soil to retain moisture.

Artificial trees

Unfortunately, due to the combination of materials used to make an artificial tree, you are unable to recycle it. However, if it is still in good condition when you decide to replace it, why not ask friends and family, or donate it to charity so someone else can use it or you can take it to the Chalvey Household Waste Recycling Centre.

Christmas facts

At Christmas we use an estimated 289,171 tonnes of card packaging, this is enough to:

  • cover Big Ben nearly 260,000 times
  • cover The Gherkin over 230,000 times
  • wrap The London Eye nearly 50,000 times
  • make a cardboard motorway stretching from London to Lapland and back 103 times with all the card packaging we use at Christmas

based on WRAP research from 2015.

Top tips for recycling at Christmas

WRAP provides top tips for recycling at Christmas.

  • Wrapping paper can be recycled if it passes the scrunch test – if you can scrunch it and it stays in a ball without springing back, it can be recycled. If it doesn’t stay in a ball it can’t be recycled. This is because some metallic-looking paper is actually lined with plastic and cannot be recycled.
  • Glitter cannot be recycled – so make sure glittery paper goes in the grey bin; or you could avoid buying it in the first place to be kinder to the environment.
  • Try to remove as much sticky tape from the wrapping paper before recycling to make it easier to recycle.
  • Remember to rip off any glittery sections and decorations on cards (like ribbons) before recycling those too.
  • If you order anything online ready for Christmas, it's likely your items will be delivered in boxes or envelopes made from corrugated cardboard. This can be recycled – just remember to remove any polystyrene packing and remove as much sticky tape as possible.

Local recycling | Recycle Now helps you to find out what you can recycle at home or in your local area.