Greetings cards

Can greetings cards be recycled?

Birthdays, moving house, engagement, Christmas, passing a test. There’s lots of reasons to celebrate and pass on best wishes by sending someone a card. When they are no longer wanted, should we recycle them?

You can recycle most greetings cards, along with their envelopes, as they are usually made from paper. However, if they are covered in glitter, foil, bows or made from photo paper you can’t recycle these the usual way via local authority household kerbside collections.

If your cards have these embellishments, they will need to be removed if possible before recycling. If unrecyclable decoration cannot be removed the cards should either be placed in general waste or saved for reuse. Recyclable cards will either be accepted at kerbside along with cardboard and paper waste, or they can be taken to specific collection points. For example, some large supermarkets have Christmas card collection points available once the festive season has ended. Always check with your local council if you are unsure what they will collect for recycling at kerbside.

Ideas on how to reuse cards that can't be recycled:

  • Turn them into gift tags. Get creative with your cutting out and use a hole punch if you wish to add some string
  • Make a jigsaw out of them. Glue to some thicker card if necessary and cut a design. This may help keep little hands busy! 
  • Make them into new cards. Cut out images or wording to make a new more personal card
  • Frame them. If you love the card image, frame them like you would a picture and hang them up