How to recycle your trees, cards and other Christmas waste

Christmas tree on the street for recycling

Remember to check the changes to bin collections over the Christmas and New Year period.

Please also remember garden waste collections will not be undertaken between between 21 December 2020 and 15 January; collections restart on 18 January.

Christmas trees recycling

Christmas tree drop off points

With the climate emergency now a priority for the council, we want to make sure that again this year as many Christmas trees as possible are composted locally, so we encourage you to take your Christmas tree to one of the following drop off points:

  • Swindon Road Recycling Centre – anytime during opening hours
  • From 2 to 17 January 2021, locations around Cheltenham where trees will be collected and recycled:
    • Cheltenham Racecourse – New Barn Lane
    • Cheltenham Football Club – Whaddon Road
    • Old Patesians Rugby Club - Everest Road
    • Cheltenham B&Q – Hatherley Lane

Please note: Christmas tree drop off points will have a designated area marked off with cones and a sign. Please only use these areas to deposit your real Christmas trees.

The map below shows the drop-off points available. Zoom in to see the specific area designated for Christmas tree drop-off.

Christmas tree kerbside collections

If you are a garden waste customer leave your tree out with your garden waste bin on your first collection after 18 January 2021 and it will be collected.

If you are not a garden waste customer, Ubico Ltd will collect Christmas trees from 18 January 2021 from the kerbside.

  • Check the website for the garden waste collections in your area and put your tree out on the kerbside on the day it is collected in your road.
  • If a garden waste vehicle does not go into your street, the tree can be left out by your bin on your next refuse collection, but it will be disposed of as waste and will not be recycled. Alternatively you can take your tree to the Swindon Road recycling centre or one of the four locations listed above between 2 to 17 January.

Please note: Christmas trees should be free of lights, decorations, pots or stands and trees up to five feet or one and a half metres tall can be left out whole. Trees larger than this need to be cut down before being put out for collection.


At Christmas there is more to recycle than any other time of the year, please try to recycle as much as possible.

With materials such as mixed plastics, textiles, shoes, batteries and small electrical items accepted at the kerbside, it’s easy to recycle in Cheltenham.

This Christmas, please remember to separate your recycling by using your kerbside boxes and blue cardboard bags. Pre-sorting your recycling will ensure it remains good quality and helps to speed up collections reducing delays for other road users.

Excess recycling can be taken to one of the bring bank sites located around the town or alternatively, the Swindon Road recycling centre.

Christmas lights

Please put Christmas lights in a tied carrier bag and then place them in one of your recycling boxes for collection. You can also take them to the Swindon Road recycling centre.

Christmas cards

Provided they do not contain foil or glitter decoration, these can be put into the blue cardboard bag, recycled at the cardboard banks at bring sites around the town or taken to the Swindon Road recycling centre.  Remember you can remove the foil and glitter section of the Christmas card and recycle the rest of the card.

Wrapping paper

Wrapping paper which does not contain foil can be put into your kerbside recycling boxes for paper recycling. However wrapping paper made from foil cannot be placed in to the kerbside recycling box as unfortunately they cannot be recycled. 

Tip - If your wrapping paper can be scrunched and stays scrunched up it doesn’t contain foil, foil wrapping paper springs back when scrunched.

Cardboard gift boxes and packaging should be flattened and placed in your blue cardboard bag.

Food waste

If you do find yourself with food leftovers, please remember to either home compost it or pop it in your food waste caddy along with vegetable peelings and any other cooked or uncooked food. Carrier bags can be re-used to line food waste caddies. If you have more food waste than normal, you can put both your small and large caddies out for collection.

More information on reducing waste

Visit the Recycle for Gloucestershire website.