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 take place from 16 December 2022. Collections will restart on 16 January 2023.

Christmas tree recycling

Christmas tree drop off points

With the climate emergency now a priority for the council, we want to make sure all our Christmas trees 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 16 January 2023, locations around Cheltenham where trees will be collected and recycled:
    • Cheltenham Racecourse – New Barn Lane, Cheltenham, GL52 3LT
    • Cheltenham Football Club – Whaddon Road, Cheltenham, GL52 5NA
    • Old Patesians RFC – Everest Road, Cheltenham, GL53 9LG 
    • Cheltenham B&Q – Golden valley retail park, Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham, GL51 6TA

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 Christmas trees.

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.

Christmas tree kerbside recycling

If you are a garden waste customer leave your tree out with your garden waste bin on your first collection after 16 January 2023 and it will be collected.
*Remember there are no garden waste collections from 16 December 2022. Collections will restart on 16 January 2023

If you are not a garden waste customer, Ubico Ltd will collect Christmas trees from 16 January 2023 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.

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 recycling 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 Christmas lights to the Swindon Road recycling centre.

Christmas cards

Provided they do not contain foil or glitter decoration, these can be put into your 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 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.

Coffee pods

Coffee pods can now be collected at the kerbside, so if you have a coffee machine or are lucky enough to get one this Christmas then please recycle your pods as part of your kerbside collection. More about the scheme can be found by going to our Podback coffee pod recycling page.

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.