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A to Z of Christmas recycling

A to Z of Christmas recycling

Whilst Christmas may be a time of the year that we produce more waste than normal, it does not mean that all of the waste needs to be thrown into our general waste bin. 

Here is our quick A to Z guide of Christmas recycling with tips and hints that will help us to recycle as much waste as possible over the festive period.

Advent calendars

If you separate the cardboard outer and plastic insert, the cardboard can be recycled in your burgundy bin. Unfortunately, the plastic insert cannot be recycled and you will need to put it in your green or black general waste bin.


You can recycle used batteries by putting them in a clear plastic bag and putting them on top of the glasses and cans in your green box.


You can keep your favourite Christmas cards to reuse as gift tags next year or if they do not have any glitter on the card then it can be recycled in your burgundy bin. 


Pack them into a box after you have used them and save them for next year!


If you cannot reuse an envelope, remove the sticky seal and any plastic window and the rest can be recycled in your blue box.


Recycle your clean aluminium foil in your green box. Before you throw kitchen foil away though, think, can you reuse it?


Remember to use your green box for glass bottles and jars. Any excess glass can be taken to one of the community recycling centres or Household Recycling Centres to be recycled.

Holly and the ivy

All your organic garden waste can go in your brown recycling bin. Remember, we cannot accept food waste – including fruits and vegetables – in your brown bin.  

Imaginative gifts

Did you know you can buy presents made from recycled materials? These can include fleece clothing made from recycled plastic bottles or drinking glasses and clocks made from recycled glass bottles. 


Take any old or unwanted jumpers – and other clothes – to a local charity shop or recycle them in a red textile sack, which are available from our website.

Kerbside collections

Don’t forget to check your bin collection calendar showing your waste and recycling days over the festive period. Alternatively, you can check your dates online on our collection dates page..


You can recycle your old Christmas lights by placing them in a standard supermarket carrier bag and putting them out with your recycling boxes.

Please think before you switch on your Christmas lights; the longer your tree lights are on, the more your electricity bill will be! Research has shown that if left on for 10 hours a day over 12 days, households produce an extra 1.44kg of carbon dioxide just from using Christmas tree lights.

Mobile phones

If you upgrade to the latest model this Christmas, remember that your old mobile phone could be recycled or reused even if you no longer want it.


If you are having guests why not use reusable washable napkins that you can use again and again. If you choose to use paper napkins, you could compost these at home (please note they cannot be placed into your brown bin).

Old movies

You can donate any old or unwanted DVDs and CDs to local charity shops. 


Polystyrene is a type of plastic but is very difficult to recycle; see if you can reuse it instead. You could reuse some of your polystyrene as a drainage material in the bottom of plant pots as it is lightweight and will make the pots easier to move.


Not sure which bin or box to put something in? Visit our bins, waste and recycling page or get in touch with us on wastemanagement@northlincs.gov.uk and we’ll be happy to help.

Reusable shopping bags

Take your own reusable carrier bags with you when you go to the supermarket and only take a new bag when you need to. You can take carrier bags to most major supermarkets to be recycled.

Sweet wrappers

Some chocolates and other sweet wrappers are made of foil and so can be recycled. Just beware as some wrappers are made of film-backed foil and these cannot be recycled. Alternatively, why not use sweet wrappers in children’s craft making.


Empty chocolate or biscuit tins can be recycled in your green box. Why not reuse larger tins for storage.

Unwanted gifts

If you receive an unwanted gift, don’t leave it in the back of a cupboard, why not donate it to your local charity shop? You could also put it on a website like freecycle.org.

Vegetable peelings

Although they cannot be placed into your brown bin, uncooked vegetables and peelings are great for home composting!

Wrapping paper

Unfortunately, wrapping cannot be recycled; is there anything you could use instead? If you avoid using too much sticky tape when wrapping your presents, you may be able to reuse your wrapping paper. 

Xmas trees

Once Christmas is over, you can box up your artificial tree ready for next year. If you have a real tree, you can take it to one of our Household Recycling Centres or, if its trunk and branches are smaller than four inches, it can go into your brown bin as long as the lid will close.


It is all too easy to buy and cook more food than you need at Christmas time. Before you throw leftovers in the bin, ask yourself, can you save them and reheat another day, or use them in another recipe?


After all of the fun and festivities, you just want to sleep. But don’t forget to turn off your electrical appliances before you go to bed. Leaving your TV on standby uses almost the same amount of electric as when you are watching it, so switch off to save!

Recycle for North Lincolnshire

Contact details

Opening hours

Monday to Thursday: 9am to 5pm

Friday: 9am to 4.30pm

Last updated: 12/12/2017