What Can Be Recycled Over Christmas?

Christmas Wrapping Paper; reminding people to recycle.

Over the Christmas period, there is about 30% more rubbish produced in the UK, which amounts to roughly 3 million tonnes of waste! A large amount of this is aluminium. Below we will be discussing some of the Christmas recycling do’s and don’ts. So, to keep your wastage down this Christmas keep reading!


We will cook over 19,000 tonnes of turkey, much of which is packaged in recyclable foil trays and we will consume 175 million mince pies (their foil cases can all be recycled). What’s so great about aluminium is that it can be recycled repeatedly with losing quality.

During the Christmas period, an extra 500 million aluminium drinks cans are sold and each one can be recycled, and the metal used to make new drinks cans in just 60 days. By recycling one aluminium drink can, you will save enough energy to power a set of Christmas tree lights for two hours! Saving energy also means reducing carbon emissions; one tonne of recycled aluminium saves up to 95% of the greenhouse gases emitted during primary production.

So, no matter what shiny goodness you’re eating or drinking, remember to recycle. Because you won’t only be saving a load of energy, you’ll be helping to reduce the number of carbon emissions produced too.

Wrapping Paper

One of the most common recycling mistakes around the Christmas period is around gift wrap. The majority of glossy or laminated gift wrap can’t be recycled; that includes the ribbons too.

It’s best to buy wrapping paper that is fully recyclable however if in doubt about what goes in what bin perform the scrunch test. Scrunch the wrapping paper in your hand, and if it stays scrunched it can most likely be recycled however if it springs back it probably has metallised plastic film in it and therefore cannot be recycled.


With the opportunity to get some goodies just the click of a button away, it’s no surprise that people buy a lot of their Christmas shopping online. However, what comes with online shopping? Boxes… And usually lots of them! We use around 300,000 tonnes of card packaging every Christmas – so make sure this Christmas that all your boxes are making it into the recycling.

Most cardboard boxes are high-value recyclables although due to the high volumes of them it means that some of them don’t make it into the appropriate bin. Ensure that you are breaking down the boxes to save space to keep room on your recycling pile.

Disposable Cups, Cutlery and Plates

Our advice is that it’s best to skip the disposables in favour of reusables. We understand that washing up 30+ plates can be a chore, but you’ll be doing the planet a huge favour.

Soiled paper cups, plates and napkins aren’t recyclable. Similarly, paper towels aren’t either. So, keep your unnecessary wastage down this year and don’t buy what you can throw away. You’ll also save yourself some money in the long run.


From the team at Using Less, we urge you to keep recycling over the festive period. Every little helps when recycling is concerned and what’s great about recycling is that anyone can do it. What’s your excuse?

Do you have any recycling questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments and we’d be happy to get back to you.


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