Recycling Christmas Materials

It’s probably a good time to talk about what to do with the various materials that you will find around you at Christmas time – after all, it’s a period of conspicuous consumption where we all eat and drink too much and give each other presents. When you have unwrapped those lovely presents, what do you do with the wrapping paper and packaging? The chances are that you send it for recycling along with your normal newspaper and other paper waste. Actually, wrapping paper is not ideal for recycling as it is usually dyed in bright, deep colours, and if it has a metallic finish it can’t be recycled by normal means. The experts recommend that if possible, you should compost it if you have a home composter, as the fibres will break down slowly over time.

Christmas Tree, Winter, Christmas, Fir

Christmas Trees

If your tree is an imitation one, and it has seen its’ last Christmas, sadly it can’t be recycled so you will probably need to take it to the tip. On the other hand, if it’s a real one, there may be a good use for it, so take it along to your local recycling centre where they will either process it along with the green waste, or as Flintshire County Council did last year, use it to repair storm-damaged sand-dunes.

In January 2014, following serious winter storms, the sand dunes along Talacre Beach, which are part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), were practically washed away, leaving large gaps which the sea then threatened to flood and erode. Valuable plant and animal life was under threat, so the coastal rangers used the old and dying Christmas trees to create the framework for new dunes. The dunes are still there today for all to see, and you can sometimes see the remains of the trees if the sand moves, but they will eventually rot down and disappear. What an excellent use for such a plentiful and free natural material.

Holly and Ivy Wreaths

The real holly and ivy leaves and stalks can be composted provided they’re not too thick with glitter, but any plastic baubles, berries and the base material can probably be re-used next year. Use the base along with some new greenery to make yourself a festive table centre next Christmas – now that’s thinking ahead!

Christmas Lights

There has never been such an abundance of designs, colours and shapes of Christmas lights as there is nowadays, and they really brighten up the dark nights. If your lights have lost their glimmer, they can be recycled so take them to your local recycling centre, where they will be put in with the small electrical items for processing.

Baubles, Tinsel and Streamers

Tinsel can’t be recycled, and needs to be put in with your domestic non-recyclable rubbish. The same applies to plastic (usually shiny metallic) streamers. Glass baubles can’t be recycled either, so don’t put them in the glass recycling bin, wrap them up and put them in the non-recyclable bin.

Don’t forget, if your decorations are still in good condition, but you’re just bored with them, don’t bin them. Send them to a local charity, where they can potentially be used again to give a happier and brighter Christmas to less fortunate people.

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