At Home Recycling
Recycle for Scotland

What to do with Christmas decorations and tree lights?

11 NOV 20 | 3 minute read

There’s nothing like twinkling fairy lights and Christmas decorations to spread some cheer throughout the darker months.

If you take good care of your decorations, then the great thing is that they can be used again year after year. Things like tinsel and baubles are generally not recyclable so if you do have items you no longer need, think about giving them away rather than putting them in the bin. 

Christmas tree lights

Recycling facilities exist

You can recycle your twinkly lights at household waste recycling centres along with electrical items (WEEE). Check the recycling locator to find your nearest collection point. 
 
Remember, if it has a plug, uses batteries, needs charging or has a picture of a crossed-out wheelie bin on it  - it can be recycled. 

Wreaths

Recycling facilities exist

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

Tissue paper and party hats

not currently recycled

Tissue paper, paper chains, party hats (like the ones found in crackers), crepe paper streamers and the stringy paper stuff from party poppers  are usually made from very thin, tissue style paper that will unfortunately not contain many of the good fibres needed for recycling.  

They could be composted at home but 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 with your recycling. If not they should be thrown in your non-recycling bin. 

Baubles

not currently recycled

Glass baubles aren’t recyclable so if any of your glass baubles break, wrap them up carefully and put into your non-recycling bin.  
 
Plastic baubles are usually made from types of plastic not widely recycled in the UK and are likely to be covered with glitter which would impact on the recycling process. 

Tinsel...

not currently recycled

...is not recyclable. If your tinsel has finally lost its sparkle and is no use to family or friends then it needs to be thrown away and will need to go into your non-recycling bi

Ditch the plastic decorations and make your own...

Dried oranges and pinecones look very festive and the added bonus is that they can be composted after the festive season if not covered in glitter and glue. It can be great fun and these short videos show you some great ideas for homemade Christmas decorations!

Recycling is constantly evolving and changing so check back for updates or try our recycling locator to find out what you can recycle at home and where you can recycle or pass on unwanted items in your local area. 

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