Can you recycle Christmas cards?

As a nation that uses close to one billion Christmas cards each festive season, the question of recycling Christmas cards is one that arises every year (usually closely followed by "can I recycle wrapping paper?")

Whilst in a lot of cases the answer is yes, as many Christmas cards are paper-based, there are several no-no’s to look out for when you're doing your Christmas recycling:

  1. Glitter, foil & other materials

  2. Sequins and jewels

  3. Ribbons, plastic decorations or musical cards

Unfortunately, you won't be able to add these into your household recycling collection as the non-paper items cannot be recycled with the paper and will actually contaminate the recycling process, so make sure you're just recycling plain paper cards.

What to do if you can’t recycle your Christmas cards?

Usually, the embellishments are only on the front of the card, so you can still tear off the decorated part and put the rest of your Christmas card in your paper recycling bin. Or prolong their life by adding them to your scrap paper pile for reuse.

To save the rest of the Christmas card from a wasted trip to landfill, you can use it for gift labelling next year - a crafty little idea that’s good for your pocket and the planet.

Of course, you could always avoid Christmas cards altogether in a bid to cut down on festive waste and save the 30 million trees or so used to make them. Indeed in our recent First Mile poll, 26% of Brits have said they will not be sending physical Christmas cards this year.

But if that’s a little too extreme of an idea, opt for easy-to-recycle Christmas cards without the fancy bells and whistles. You can even go one step greener, by opting for festive cards made from recycled paper.

And don’t forget that digital Christmas cards are an option too... in fact, keep your eyes peeled for our festive e-card making its way to you soon!

Homemade recyclable Christmas cards
Homemade recyclable Christmas cards

Where to recycle your Christmas cards

You can drop your recyclable cards in with your paper recycling, or even take them to local household waste recycling centres. You may even find some retailers have set up local recycling points and collection banks in supermarket car parks you can use.

If none of these are an option for you, or you just want to be 100% certain your Christmas recycling doesn't end up in the landfill, fear not: our trusty RecycleBox service is on hand for all your festive waste. Fill a cardboard box (you can use your own) with Christmas cards for recycling or any other material that you can’t readily recycle such as Christmas lights, wrapping paper or corks, and send it to us via our RecycleBox post-back service.

We're at the ready to help you recycle Christmas cards and anything else you need this holiday season!