Christmas decorations: is it in the blue bin or not?

Décorations de Noël bac bleu

To avoid the annual puzzle, use this guide to sort your decorations

Recycling Christmas decorations doesn’t have to be complicated. But it is important to know that both outdoor and indoor Christmas decorations have to be sorted: not all of them are in the blue bin despite popular belief! If you have any questions during the holiday season, check out our little guide that will give you some tips to follow to recover your Christmas decorations like a pro this year! Don’t forget to check out our blog for inspiration to create zero waste gift packaging.

Natural fir versus artificial fir: which to choose and how to get rid of it?

The debate rages every year about which tree generates the least carbon. And the answer is: it depends. If you keep your artificial tree for more than six years, then the depreciation of its environmental impact will be reduced. In addition, if you must drive a long distance to go and buy a natural fir tree, it is better to fall back on the artificial fir. It is always possible to buy a candle smelling of fir tree to compensate!

As for the natural fir, for it to be really green, it is important to know the origin: is it a tree cut from a local producer? Has this grower used pesticides? Is it possible to cut it yourself (a permit will be required)?

Once you’ve made your choice, it’s important not to throw your artificial Christmas tree into recycling. It is not possible for the machines to separate the materials: it must therefore be thrown in the trash. As for the natural tree, it goes to the ecocentre or can be collected in your municipality: check their website!

Christmas tree decorations: what to do with lights and garlands?

Tree lights and garlands are not recyclable but can be reused annually or donated to charities if they are still in good working condition. Since they are long, lights and garlands, if placed in the blue bin, can seriously damage sorting centre machinery. They wrap around gears or other materials, causing a considerable mass to block the recycling chain. In addition, even if Christmas balls are made of glass, they should not be placed in the recycling bin, because the type of glass used in their design is not the same as the recyclable one. So, they must be thrown in the garbage… or they can be left in the hands of the elves to try to fix them!

Christmas gift wrapping: making the right choice

Metallized or cellophane type packaging paper with cabbage and ribbons does not recycle. Unless you reuse them, these Christmas gift packages should be avoided as much as possible. We have dedicated a complete blog to accompany you in the creation of ecological gift packaging, check it out!

Christmas gifts: sorting them wisely

Packages in which gifts are packaged must be sorted. Note that styrofoam, still very often used by producers to protect their product, is not always recyclable depending on the municipality in which you live. It is possible to find out using the “Ça va où?” application developed by Recyc-Québec.

If you want to get rid of some electronic devices since you received the latest version for Christmas, think about giving it away if it still works (or sell it!) or drop it off at the eco-center or at a Serpuariens drop-off point! Do the same with old clothes or unwanted clothes received in gift exchange…

The most important thing is to make sure that, if you dispose of toys containing batteries, you remove them and recycle them at the eco-centre. Lithium batteries do not go into the blue bin because they can ignite excessively intensely and cause major fires in sorting centres that host a lot of cardboard and paper. If damaged, crushed or exposed to water, they explode like fireworks and can injure personnel in addition to causing a fire.

Faire nos décorations de Noël

Make our festive decorations yourself?

Good idea and why not use items that we already own at home or that are found in nature, such as fir branches, birches, pine cocottes? And when a Christmas decoration is a little out of breath or has lost its lustre, it is always possible to include it in another project and find a second life for it. Just like Christmas gift wrappers, it is possible to reduce our footprint and focus on zero waste choices. Since recycling is everyone’s business and 25% of Canadian households increase their waste during the holiday season, these are all good reasons to favour wooden, local or even handmade Christmas decorations.

Happy Holidays from the entire Ricova team!

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions:

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Founded in 2001, Ricova is the most fully integrated Quebec company for its collection, sorting and recycling services for residual and recyclable materials. Recyclable and organic materials represent more than 70% of the materials it collects and transports in Quebec. Thanks to more than 20 years of experience in the field, Ricova is concerned about protecting the environment by supporting the most ecological solutions that allow it to optimize its operations and obtain more value for recycled materials.
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