All Recycling Centres remain open (updated 5th January 2021)

Please follow the below guidelines when visiting:

  • only visit if you really need to do so
  • follow social distancing measures when on site
  • wear a face covering
  • plan your visit, weekdays are less busy
  • sort waste and recycling before your visit to minimise time on site
  • all recycling containers are open
  • wash your hands before and after your visit


Over the festive season, we use around 300,000 tonnes of card packaging

You should only put clean and dry paper and card in your paper and card recycling bin. If you put the wrong things in, it can cause tonnes of recycling to be wasted and it will end up being processed as general waste instead. This can cost your council thousands of pounds.

The wrong things that people put in their paper and card bin around this time of year are:

  • wrapping paper made of plastic
  • glittery cards
  • fairy lights
  • food waste

paper and card recycling with the wrong things


Paper and card recycling tips

Scrunch Test

Not all wrapping paper is actually paper. Some is made with plastic or foil. To check if it can be recycled, try the scrunch test. If you can scrunch the paper into a ball and it stays scrunched, you can recycle it!

A scrunched up ball of Christmas wrapping paper

Empty Box

Before recycling your cardboard boxes, take out all plastic packaging, bubble wrap and polystyrene. They are all made with plastic and can’t be recycled, so put them in your general waste bin.

Cardboard box with torn wrapping paper

No Glitter

Cards and wrapping paper with glitter can’t be recycled. This is because glitter is made from plastic and can’t be separated out from the paper and card fibres during the recycling process.

Greetings card with glitter on it

More festive recycling tips

Reduce your food waste

7 in 10 people admit to buying far more food than they need.

Change your food waste habits by:

  1. planning your shopping
  2. making your food last longer by storing your food properly
  3. using what you buy

For more food tips visit:

Love Food Hate Waste

Food savvy

Out of date

Food waste caddy - 4.5 million toones of edible food thrown away every year

Batteries not included

Batteries are essential, especially if you are expecting to receive gadgets and toys this Christmas. Plan ahead and invest in some reusable batteries. They’re better for the planet and your pocket.

If you do have some dead batteries, you can recycle them at most supermarkets and electrical shops.


Who switched the fairy lights off?

Christmas tree lights, wires, cables and other electrical items don’t go in any of your bins at home.

You can recycle them at your local Recycling Centre.

Multi coloured fairy lights

How to recycle your Christmas tree

Turn your real tree into compost! Chop it up into your food and garden bin or take it to your local Recycling Centre. Some councils also have collection points.

Christmas tree

Step by Step Beeswax

You will need:

  • Cotton cloth washed and ironed
  • Beeswax 
  • Coconut
  • Pine resin
  • Clean brush


  1. Cut your cloth to the size you want
  2. Mix the pine resin, beeswax, and coconut oil, melt over simmering water until it has all been mixed
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 140°C. place the cloth on a baking tray for two minutes
  4. Take the tray out of the oven and brush the mixture until it is covered return to the oven for a minute
  5. Remove from the oven and brush again to remove the excess, allow to drip dry, this shouldn’t take too long and it is ready to go!
Beeswax blocks on top of cotton cloths

For even more tips

  1. Follow @recycle4gm on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  2. Subscribe to our newsletter
  3. Download our free recycling activities worksheets for kids
  4. Book a free virtual session to learn more about recycling

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Recycle for Greater Manchester