Get on to Santa’s nice list this Christmas!

It's the most anticipated time of year, and it's almost here! We're here to help you get onto Santa’s nice list with our sustainable Christmas tips.

We produce 30% more waste than at any other time of the year over the festive season. So let’s give a Christmas gift to the planet by recycling correctly to make this yuletide more environmentally friendly than ever before!  

Don't forget there are changes to kerbside waste collections over the festive period.  If you usually receive a collection on a Monday or Tuesday, check here to find out how you are affected.

Thank you to all our Household Recycling Centre visitors who have shown kindness and shared lovely messages for our teams over the past year. If you would like to continue to show your appreciation on social media, remember to include #BirminghamRecycles and #SiteKind.

Gif showing santas naughty list of non-recyclable items

Electrical Items

Whether it’s battery powered or has a plug, make sure you take these to your local recycling centre so resources like metals and plastic can be made into something new!

Gas and Helium Cylinders

Never put these in your kerbside bins at home, they can be dangerous if they are not processed carefully. Take them to your local recycling centre so we can recycle them safely

Christmas Trees

Real trees can be taken to the recycling centre. If it's artificial, see if you can donate it for reuse - did you know an artificial tree should be reused at least 12 times to be the more sustainable option!


Tinsel can't be recycled, if it can't be reused then place it in your non-recyclable waste bin. This will be processed at an Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) where it is used to generate clean, low carbon electricity.

Fairy Lights

500 tonnes of decorative lights are thrown away every year in the UK. If you have broken lights take them to the recycling centre. Don't forget to choose a sustainable option for your new lights like solar or energy efficient LEDs.


Are they in a reusable condition? Unwanted CDs & DVDs can be donated for reuse or sold on sites like Zapper and Ziffit so they can go to a new home this Christmas

Christmas crackers festive background

Christmas crackers

99% of us admitted to immediately throwing away the tiny gifts that come with crackers but these aren’t just for Christmas! They’re typically made of plastic which can take 450 years to decompose. Buy 100% recyclable crackers or why not make your own instead!

Shiny/glitter wrapping paper or cards

Did you know we use enough to wrap around the world 9 times? Tis the season for sparkles but glitter and recycling don't mix! Choose recyclable options and if you receive a glittery card, save it to reuse to make gift tags. 


Batteries in electricals can start fires when crushed in recycling and rubbish lorries so should never be placed in kerbside bins. Batteries can sometimes be hidden so double check and recycle them separately and safely at the recycling centre or at large shops!

Food waste

In the UK our food waste increases by 80% with 230,000 tonnes of food going in the bin over the festive season! Focus on reducing this year and check out Love Food Hate Waste to make the most of your leftovers.

Full or part full aerosols

Make sure you’ve got the most out of your aerosols. But if you don’t you can recycle aerosols that are full or part full at the recycling centre, just look for the signposted container or ask a member of staff to help.

Plastic Bags

Don’t bag up your recycling, leave it loose. Soft plastic recycling points are in most supermarkets or place in your non-recyclable container and they'll be used to generate clean, low carbon electricity.

Check out our advent calendar, it’s bursting with more tips on reducing, reusing and recycling to make this festive season the most sustainable yet!


Find out what happens to your Christmas waste and recycling

This Christmas, a whopping 10 million turkeys will be sold in the UK, weighing a massive 55,000 tonnes – that’s equivalent to more than 620,000 Santas weighing an average of 14 stone each. 

A shocking amount of food is wasted during the festive period, so here some top tips to waste less this Christmas.


Buy Loose
To avoid food waste, buy loose vegetables. It may be cheaper to buy a big bag of veg but it may not be necessary if they won't be eaten or if they end up in the bin. Take a reusable bag to the supermarket and only buy what you will need for the big day.

Watch out for unnecessary supermarket deals
Mince pies are a big favourite over the festive period but don't be tempted with 2-for-1 deals if you know you're not going to eat them all. If they do slip into your basket, why not donate the extra pack to a local food bank.


Love your leftovers
You've worked hard to make Christmas Day the best that it can be. Don't forget to do your bit to reduce food waste by using the leftovers to create a new meal. Leftovers make great lunches for the days in between Christmas and New Year with very little effort! 
There are lots of recipe ideas online for inspiration, search for Christmas leftovers recipes.


Storage is everything
Make sure you don't overfill your fridge as it requires space for the air to circulate and for the fridge to work. If it's cold enough, take advantage of the cold weather to store uncooked hardy veg in cold outbuildings to stay fresh. You may also want to consider fridge space for your leftovers at the end of the big day.


If you have excess cardboard packaging build up over Christmas that won't fit into the paper and card pod, you can always bring it down to one of the Household Recycling Centres. Don't forget to book a slot online first.

Please note, our Household Recycling Centre staff will be enjoying Christmas Day and Boxing Day with their families so all Birmingham sites will be closed on 25 & 26 December.