A Guide to Tidying up After Christmas

Everyone’s been there: the inevitable post-Christmas tidying which takes hours and is the last thing you feel like doing on a stomach full of turkey and with remnants of hangover. This process is made only harder when considering whether or not certain things can be recycled and, if so, how this should be done.

That’s why here at Brown Recycling, we’ve made a handy guide which gives you some top tips on how to tidy up after Christmas in the most environmentally friendly manner and without taking hours of your time doing so.

Wrapping paper and Christmas cards

Wrapping paper and cards are often dyed, laminated and can contain paper additives including plastics, all of which make them unable to be recycled. Similarly, some wrapping papers and cards are extremely thin, meaning that they have insufficient quality fibres for recycling.

In order to ensure that your wrapping paper and cards can be recycled during the Christmas clean up, buy wrapping paper and cards made from recycled materials or that clearly state that they are recycling-friendly. When it comes to the recycling process, check with your local council to see if your wrapping paper and cards can go in your recycling bin or need to be taken to the recycling centre instead.

Bottles, tins, cans and food packaging

The huge collection of empty bottles – glass and plastic – along with tins, cans and food packaging can leave a giant amount of rubbish to be recycled. In fact, all of these materials can be safely and easily recycled with the right know-how; they must simply be rinsed out to ensure they contain no remnants of food or drinks before being placed into the correct recycling bin. For more specific information on different types of plastic recycling, take a look at our plastic recycling guide.

As with paper and cardboard, it is important to find out from your local council whether you can simply place your glass and plastic containers and tins into your bin for recycling collection, or whether you need to take them to your local bottle banks or recycling centre.


For those households which love having a real Christmas tree every year, it is important to note that your tree can be recycled with ease. Simply remove tinsel and other decorations, and take it to a collection point where it can be taken from you and made into chippings.

Real trees are beneficial in this aspect, as artificial trees cannot be recycled in this manner, or at all. They can, however, be re-used or passed on to friends or family, so though not specifically recyclable they are not wholly environmentally problematic.


It is now possible for some councils to collect small electrical items such as fairy lights from your Christmas tree as part of household recycling collections, as well as composting things like wreaths once the ribbons and decorative additions have been removed.

In terms of decorations such as tinsel and baubles, they cannot be recycled as neither are recyclable, so if they are damaged and unusable, dispose of them in your rubbish bin. If, however, they are suitable for reuse, continue to use them in years to come or pass them on to friends or family to use again, or even charity shops where they can be sold on and do the charity good at the same time.

Food waste

Many types of food waste can be composted at your home, including:

  • Fruit and vegetable peelings, seeds and cores
  • Tea bags
  • Coffee grounds and filter papers
  • Paper towels or tissues (not if they have touched meat)
  • Egg shells

Other tips to take note of include placing meat, fish and dairy products with cooked food into food waste collection as opposed to composting them, which could attract unwanted visitors to your garden.

If, however, you have leftover bread, veggies or dried foods, why not leave them out for animals and birds to pick at in the cold period around Christmas?

Leftover turkey

Though we all look forward to that leftover turkey sandwich after Christmas is over, there are other ways in which this meat can be recycled that don’t involve putting you off sandwiches for life. Why not try incorporating the turkey into a curry, using a ready made sauce or a tin of chopped tomatoes and some spices, or even a soup with pulses and other veggies to get you feeling healthy again after the Christmas period?

Here at Brown Recycling, we are proud to do all that we can to provide expert waste management and recycling services to our customers. To find out more about any of our services, or to arrange a recycling service at your property today, contact the friendly team of experts here at Brown Recycling. We’ll be happy to help, and will do what we can to ensure you and your premises are as environmentally friendly as they can be.


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