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Christmas recycling guide

Christmas recycling

'Tis the season to be jolly... but not wasteful.

Here's a quick guide to what you can and can't recycle this Christmas.

Wrapping paper

Foil-based wrapping paper cannot be recycled. Glitter covered and non-paper gift wraps made from foil-based paper that spring back when scrunched cannot be recycled and should be put in your rubbish bin.

Paper-based wrapping paper can be put in your regular paper and card recycling and presented for collection.

Christmas cards

Glitter-covered greetings cards cannot be recycled as-is. Please tear off the glitter section, as well as any badges and/or batteries, and put the remaining card in your paper/card recycling container.

Regular cards can be recycled in your paper/card recycling.

Christmas trees

Fake trees must be taken to your nearest household recycling centre. If your artificial tree is in a reusable condition please consider donating it to a local charity or advertising it on community exchange schemes like Freecycle, Freegle or Freely Wheely.

Natural trees can be cut up and put in your compostable garden waste container or taken to your nearest household recycling centre. Please remove all tinsel, lights, decorations, tree stands and plastic bags. 

Please note: our garden waste collection service is suspended from Monday 23 December to Monday 6 January and will resume on Tuesday 7 January.

Bottle corks

Natural corks can be disposed of in your rubbish bin or you can put them in your home compost bin. They can also be donated to Recorked UK who recycle natural corks. All you have to do is post them and some of the profits from recycling them will go to charity too!

Plastic corks cannot be recycled and should put in your rubbish bin.

Excess cardboard

If you have big boxes to recycle from all those presents you got, just cut them up, flatten them and stack next to your paper box so we can collect them.

Extra recycling

Christmas is a busy time of year, with loads of parties and celebrations. That means lots more bottles, cans and food packets to recycle. We will collect a reasonable amount of extra recycling from your kerbside collection.

Please present any extras in a reusable container on your recycling collection day.

Christmas decorations

Perhaps they’re looking a bit dated, or maybe they’re broken – whatever your reason for getting rid of your Christmas decorations, they can’t be recycled. Please put decorations in your rubbish bin.

If the decorations are in a reusable condition, consider donating them to a local charity or advertising them through a free community exchange scheme like Freecycle.

Christmas fairy lights

If they’re faulty or unsafe, electrical items such as fairy lights should be disposed of in your rubbish bin. If your fairy lights are safe and still work, you should consider donating to charity or advertising on free community exchanges sites like Freecycle and Freegle.


Misfired or partly spent fares should be soaked in a container of water for several days and the manufacturer or supplier should be contacted for guidance on disposal.

Polystyrene (styrofoam)

We cannot recycle polystyrene. This should be put in your rubbish bin and presented for collection as general waste.

Household recycling centres

Remember, recycling can always be taken to your nearest household recycling centre free of charge.

Find your nearest centre and check opening times (Bucks CC).