Can you recycle Christmas cards? What to do with cards and wrapping paper and where to recycle them in Scotland

We didn't get a white Christmas but you can still enjoy a green one! Picture: Shutterstock
We didn't get a white Christmas but you can still enjoy a green one! Picture: Shutterstock
Share this article

It’s estimated that around 2 billion greetings cards are purchased each year in the UK.

This amounts to around £1.7 billion, making ours the most successful greeting cards industry in the world.

Check with your council, but some wrapping paper can be recycled. Picture: Shutterstock

Check with your council, but some wrapping paper can be recycled. Picture: Shutterstock

Which is wonderful, but it does beg the quesiton of what to do with all those cards, envelopes and bits of wrapping paper now that Christmas time is over?

Read More: Christmas tree collection 2019: when do Christmas trees get picked up in Edinburgh?

It would certainly be a shame just to throw them all in the trash, fortunately alot of it Christmas waste be recycled.

Are Christmas cards bad for the environment?

Christmas cards do also create a startling amount of waste

While our card-happy habit make us unrivalled at spreading Christmas cheer, it does come at a pretty steep environmental cost, using up around 280 million tonnes of carbon.

Far too much of that then ends up in the dump or the incinerator – with an estimated 1 billion Christmas cards thrown out each year.

So if you’ve received your fair share of cardboard Christmas wishes this year, you should find a way to recycle them.

How can I recycle my Christmas cards?

Many people in the UK can simply put their cards and envelopes in with the household recycling.

Both are paper-based so anyone with the appropriate bin (usually the blue wheeled one) can simply dispose of cards in this way.

However, it is worth noting that some cards contain components which are not recyclable, like ribbons and glitter. These sections should simply be torn off and binned as normal, with the rest of the card going in the recycling.

Recycle Now have a handy tool allowing you to punch in your postcode and find out what you are able to recycle via your household collection.

For musical cards, it is especially important to remove the batteries before recycling. The batteries can then be recycled at a battery recycling point.

What about wrapping paper?

Things get a little trickier when it comes to all that brightly-coloured paper that you tore off your presents on Christmas morning.

While some councils will accept it in with the rest of a household’s paper recycling, others won’t. This is because a lot of wrapping paper contains things like non-paper additives and plastic components which cannot recycled.

On top of that, a lot of it simply contains too few good quality fibres for it to be worth recycling.

In general terms, simple paper wrapping can be recycled whereas foils or glitter-coated papers cannot.

To find out whether you can recycle wrapping paper as part of your household collection, simply visit your local council’s website.

If you are going to recycle wrapping paper, make sure to remove any sticky tape first.

Where's my nearest recycling centre?

If that doesn’t work for you – for example if you don’t have the appropriate bin as part of your home recycling – you can simply take you cards along to your local household recycling centre.

You'll find recycling centres at the following locations:

Glasgow

- Dawsholm Recycling Centre, 75 Dalsholm Road G20 0TB
- Easter Queenslie Recycling Centre, 90 Easter Queenslie Road G33 4UL
- Polmadie Recycling Centre, 425 Polmadie Road G42 0PJ
- Shieldhall Recycling Centre, Renfrew Road G51

Edinburgh
- Seafield HWRC, 76 Seafield Road EH6 7LW
- Craigmillar HWRC, Old Dalkeith Road EH16 4TB
- Sighthill HWRC, Bankhead Avenue EH11 4EA

Dundee
-
Baldovie Recycling Centre, Piper Street, Dundee DD4 0NT
- Riverside Recycling Centre, Wright Avenue, Dundee DD2 1UR

Aberdeen
-
Bridge of Don Recycling Centre, Scotstown Road, Bridge of Don AB22 8NJ
- Hazlehead Recycling Centre, Hazlehead Avenue AB15 8BJ
- Bucksburn Recycling Centre, Bankhead Avenue, Bucksburn AB21 9ET
- Dyce Recycling Centre, Pitmedden Road, Dyce AB21 0DP
- Tullos Recycling Centre, Greenbank Crescent, Tullos AB12 3BG

Stirling
- Lower Polmaise, by Fallin off the A905, FK7 7FG
- Balfron, Dunkeld Court (behind the Co-op), G63 0TE
- Callander, Lagrannoch Depot, Geisher Road FK17 8LD

For more information on where to find your nearest household recycling centres, visit your local council's website.

Alternatively, Recycle Now also has a tool for this too – just punch in your postcode to find your nearest recycling locations.