The Christmas waste you can and can’t recycle - from wrapping paper to broken fairy lights

After Christmas Day, you may find yourself with an array of wrapping paper, gift bags, bows and other items that you need to discard.

But, with so many varying materials, you may know not what you can and can’t put in the recycling bin.

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Here, specialist supplier metals4U explains what you can and can't recycle over the festive period.

What can’t I recycle?

These are the items you may need to dispose of after Christmas, but which cannot be recycled.

Wrapping paper

Christmas wrapping paper generally cannot be recycled as it is often laminated with plastic, foil or other non-paper materials. It is also likely to have sticky tape on it which is non-recyclable.

UK recycling program, Recycle Now, suggests that one way to check whether your wrapping paper can be recycled is by scrunching it up. If it stays scrunched then it’s generally good to recycle. If not, then it isn’t recyclable.

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However, if you’re not sure, it’s worth trying to find the original wrapping paper packaging, as this may say whether or not it can be recycled.

Glittery Christmas cards

Anything with glitter on it cannot be recycled and should go in the general waste bin. A lot of Christmas cards and tags will feature glitter, so it’s worth checking this to decipher which bin they should go in.

Tinsel and broken baubles

Both tinsel and broken baubles cannot be recycled and should be put in your general waste bin.

Plastic packaging

A lot of plastic packaging, from both presents or food, is non-recyclable, so it’s worth checking the recycling symbols on the packaging before deciding which bin it should go in.

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It’s also worth checking your local council website to see what they do and don’t recycle.

What can I recycle?

These are the items that you can generally recycle after Christmas.

Cardboard boxes

Cardboard boxes, after you’ve removed the tape and anything else left in them, can be recycled.

Christmas trees

Real Christmas trees can be turned into wood chippings, with local councils usually advertising pick up dates in early January. Check your council website to see if this is something they offer.

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As long as they don’t have glitter or glue on them and aren’t plastic, Christmas wreaths can go into your garden waste bin after the festive period.

Fairy lights

If you have any broken or unwanted fairy lights, then they should not go in your general waste. They should be taken to a recycling centre as they are classed as electrical equipment.

Paul McFadyen, Managing Director at metals4U, said, “At Christmas time, it's more important than ever that we all play our part in reducing our carbon footprint, and it’s good to see that the majority of people are on board when it comes to recycling, however there are still many that don’t see it as important.

“By understanding what we can and can’t recycle at Christmas, and working together with local authorities, and the government, we can all do our bit to ensure that recycling continues to be effective.”