Christmas Decorations

Generally, most Christmas decorations are not recyclable, although a few are.

Below is a guide to how you can dispose of them.

Christmas tree lights

Christmas tree lights are recyclable. Some councils are now starting to collect small electrical items as part of your household recycling collection (usually the item needs to be bagged and kept separate from the rest of your recycling); otherwise you can recycle them at household waste recycling centres with electrical items.  Please check with your council before putting any lights out for collection.


If you have opted for a wreath containing natural materials like ivy, holly or fir tree clippings, you will be able to compost the greenery once you’ve removed it from the base, provided it isn’t covered with excessive glitter. The decorative parts of the wreath such as ribbons, plastic flowers and berries and the oasis ring/base can be used again.  You might like to keep these bits handy and have a go at making a lovely table decoration for your home in the Spring or another wreath next Christmas!

Paper chains

The best option is to home compost your paper decorations rather than recycle them.  This is because paper decorations are often dyed in vivid colours and the paper has short fibres too – neither of which is ideal for recycling. If you don’t have a home compost bin, you can check with your local council to see if you can include these items in your recycling.

You can find out more about how paper is recycled by watching our short animated video:


Glass baubles are not recyclable – if any of your glass baubles break, please wrap carefully and dispose of in your rubbish bin.

Plastic baubles are usually made from types of plastic not widely collected yet in the UK and are likely to be covered with glitter which would impact on the recycling process.

If your Christmas tree was supplied with plastic baubles you don’t intend to use, why not consider passing them on to a charity shop or offer them to family or friends.  Alternatively, try to give them away on Freecycle or Freegle. Remember the old saying: “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure!”


…is not recyclable. If your tinsel has finally lost its sparkle and needs to be thrown away – it needs to be disposed of in your rubbish bin.

And finally…

Instead of buying new decorations when your old ones are past their best, why not have a go at making some?

It can be great fun and they’ll be reasonably unique too! These great little videos show you how…