Where can I recycle Christmas cards? Are Tesco or Sainsbury’s recycling, creative ideas for reusing Xmas cards

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This is what to do with your old Christmas cards, rather than just throw them away

Another Christmas is behind us, and with the twelfth night fast approaching many of us will be taking the festive decorations down for another year.

While many Christmas decorative staples, such as the artificial tree, baubles or artificial wreath on the door can be used again year after year - and as such are carefully packed away each year ready to be hung again the following November or December - there are some things which aren’t reused.

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If you enjoyed a real Christmas tree in your home over the 2022 festive season, there are several ways you can reuse or recycle the tree now that the season is drawing to a close. But what about your Christmas cards? Every year, we are sent Yuletide wishes on greetings cards from family and friends which we happily display to add to the Christmas cheer in our homes, but then don’t know what to do with them come January.

Here’s where you can recycle them, or alternative ways to reuse them - and they are all better for our environment than just simply throwing them in the bin.

Are major retailers and supermarkets offering card recycling?

In year’s gone by, there were collection points at various retailers across the UK in branches of Marks and Spencer, Sainsburys, Tesco and WHSmith where people could donate their old Christmas cards in aid of the Woodland Trust, the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity.

At the moment, however, no retailers or supermarkets have announced any nationwide Christmas Card recycling schemes for 2022/2023.

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In 2017, Marks and Spencer stopped their Christmas card recycling scheme. A spokesperson at the time said: “As Christmas cards are now widely recycled at kerbside, we have now ended this scheme but continue to support the Woodland Trust through Sparks as one of our long-standing charity partners.”

It seems that other retailers and supermarkets have also taken the same approach.

This is what to do with your old Christmas cards, rather than just throw them away.This is what to do with your old Christmas cards, rather than just throw them away.
This is what to do with your old Christmas cards, rather than just throw them away. | Janice - stock.adobe.com

How can I recycle my Christmas cards?

The good news is that it now couldn’t be easier to recycle your wanted cards after any occasion has passed, not just Christmas. You can recycle them in your own household recycling collection or take them to local recycling points, such as at household waste recycling centres or collection banks in supermarket car parks.

You should be careful though, as it is only card and paper that can be recycled. We know that many festive cards are decorated with things such as glitter and ribbons, but these cannot be recycled. You should either remove the decorated sections from the cards before recycling or put those cards in your general waste bin.

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Check for the household waste recycling centres in your area, and the facilities available there, by visiting your local council website. You can also visit the official websites of all the main supermarkets and use their store locators to check if recycling facilities are available at your local branch.

What else can I do with my Christmas cards?

Your only options for Christmas cards aren’t recycling or throwing away, there are multiple ways you can reuse them too.

Maddy Alexander-Grout, who is a money saving Tik-Toker at Mad About Money and Chief Marketing Officer for money saving site My VIP Reward, uses them to make next year’s Christmas cards and also festive gift tags for next year’s presents.

She said: “I keep my old Christmas cards from previous years and use them to make my own cards. All you need is some A4 paper, scissors and glue, cut all of the pictures out and get creative. Kids will find it really fun and it’s so much more personal, plus it occupies the kids and gets them in the Christmas spirit. You can also make your own gift tags using old Christmas cards in this way.”

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You can also make festive bookmarks, place settings, bunting or paper chains, which can be used next year, or you could even use them to decorate the boxes you store your Christmas decorations in. All you need is a little imagination, and you’ll be able to create something which is totally unique to you.

You could also make Christmas baubles, all you need is some scissors, a hole puncher and some ribbon. You may even be able to take the ribbon off some of the cards you have received. For the simplest baubles, all you have to do is cut out your favourite pictures from the cards and attach some ribbons, but if you’re feeling more adventurous you can also try to fold sections of the cards into shapes and glue them together to make 3D baubles.

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