Recycling Christmas decorations and packaging when the Christmas holidays are over is an important step in reducing your environmental footprint in Canada and the world.

A feature image for a blog post about recycling Christmas decorations and packaging.

You can send many items to a recycling center or repurpose them with a new life to reduce how much you send to the landfill. Consciously doing Christmas will help to protect our planet home.

Recycling Christmas Trees

When it comes to recycling Christmas trees, it matters if it’s real or artificial. If it’s artificial, you’re likely out of luck as most fake trees cannot be recycled. However, you can check with your local recycling depot to confirm it.

You’ll either have to trash your old artificial Christmas tree or, if it’s in good shape, give it new life by donating it to a secondhand store or selling it yourself.

Check with your local municipal authority for options to recycle your real Christmas tree. They’re often collected and chipped up for mulch. Some farms accept them for bedding or as food for goats.

Recycling Christmas Cards

Because Christmas cards are paper-based, they’re generally easy to recycle. Check with your local recycling program to determine which kinds can go into the bin. Usually, cards with glitter or foil are not accepted.

However, Christmas cards also make up a large portion of the waste that accumulates during the holidays. And, if you’re always tempted to save the “special” ones, you’ll need storage space as they pile up. You may consider using technology to send e-mails and e-messages instead of sending Christmas cards.

Recycling Christmas Decorations

When it comes to recycling Christmas decorations, it’s going to be on an individual basis, depending on what type of material the decoration is composed of.

Any wreaths or displays with natural materials like pine cones, branches, and berries can likely be composted or chipped up as mulch. Just make sure they don’t have anything such as glitter, glue, or paint on them.

Plastic decorations will have to be checked against your local list of what’s acceptable to see if they can go in the recycling bag or bin. Some plastics are not accepted.

Glass items are generally not accepted as recycling material, and any ornaments that are broken should be wrapped carefully before you put them in the trash.

Electrical decorations will also require checking with your local waste management authority to see where they can be properly disposed of.

Recycling holiday decorations will take some research to make sure you handle them properly, but it’s worth the effort to help protect the environment. And, you can always sell or donate any items that are still usable.

Recycling Christmas Tree Lights

Christmas lights are another item that you should repurpose or donate if you can because they likely won’t be accepted in a recycling center. Avoiding excessive strings of holiday lights is a better option.

Check with your local waste management organization or with local hardware stores for any disposal programs for electrical products in your community.

Recycling Wrapping Paper

Holiday wrapping paper is another item that is paper-based but comes with exceptions. If it’s foil or has things attached like tape and glitter, it likely won’t be accepted for recycling.

It’s better to find alternatives to traditional gift wrap, such as reusing gift bags or using other more environmentally-friendly materials like a scarf to make your presents festive.

Recycling Cardboard

With the amount of online shopping people do these days, cardboard boxes are quickly becoming a big part of the holiday waste disaster.

Fortunately, many recycling centers will accept the cardboard and recycle it. However, be sure to check on how they like it to be prepared for pickup. Some centers want it to be bundled in certain dimensions.

Recycling Batteries

For many homes, Christmas means an extra demand for batteries for all those toys and gadgets. Like electronics, they require special care for disposal and recycling.

Again, check with local waste management authorities to find out the rules and with local electronics stores for any disposal programs in your area.

In Canada, holiday waste can increase by more than 25%, which is staggering considering the climate crisis we’re experiencing at present. You can reduce your impact by being conscious of your Christmas shopping and habits and recycling whatever you can after the holidays are over.

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