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Methodology

Freedom of Information requests were sent to all UK local authorities to find out what percentage of waste is recycled each year, and if they enforce recycling through fines, warnings, monitoring or refusals. Of the 433 local authorities, 214 replied with information.

Public confusion around recycling based on a survey of 2,000 UK adults (nationally representative) carried out by One Poll on behalf of Confused.com between 16 and 20 August 2019.

Can I recycle it?

Here are 5 things people find confusing to recycle during Christmas.
Select an item to reveal what can, and can't, be recycled.

Wrapping paper
no recycling icon Try the scrunch test. If it stays scrunched up, you can recycle it. Otherwise it goes in the general waste. Remove sticky tape!

Wrapping paper

Christmas cards
recycling icon Most cards are recyclable, but glitter and decorations aren't. Check the back of the card for more info.

Christmas cards

Toy packaging
recycling icon You can recycle most cardboard packaging. Remove any plastic and polystyrene first.

Toy packaging

Real tree
recycling icon You can recycle these and turn them into wood chips. Some councils will collect trees. If not, take them to your local recycling centre.

Real Christmas tree

Plastic tree
no recycling icon You usually can't recycle these. Try donating them to charity or giving to a friend or relative.

Plastic Christmas tree

Why are people confused?

Recycling bins Recycling bins

Have yourself an eco-friendly Christmas

As a nation, we're becoming more aware of our impact on the environment. And this doesn't stop at Christmas time. In fact, 87% of Brits have taken steps to reduce their impact on the environment over the festive period. More than one in five (21%) are pledging to take steps to become more eco-friendly in the new year.

But how can you celebrate Christmas and be good to the planet? Here are some tips to get you started:

Food
Eat less meat

Tip one

LED lights
Use LED Christmas lights

Tip two

Carpool
Share car journeys (car pooling)

Tip three

Recycling: A clearer future

Recycling can be confusing, but the future looks clearer. Under 2022 plans, plastic packaging could face a new tax. And in the future, standardised weekly food waste and rubbish collections could be introduced.

For tips on how to have an eco-friendly Christmas

Read our guide
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