Christmas recycling ideasChristmas is a wonderful time of year, but it can leave our rubbish bins groaning. On average we produce 30 per cent more rubbish over the holiday period, much of which could be recycled - unfortunately many people feel able to relax their recycling habits and throw everything in the bin just to get it 'out of sight.'

But they're missing a trick. Much of that rubbish is Christmas cards and wrapping paper, all of which can be recycled and used again to great effect, with just a little effort and creativity. Here are some Christmas recycling ideas tips to help you over the festive period.

Christmas Card Recycling

•    One of the easiest ways to recycle your Christmas cards is to cut them up and use them as gift tags for next year's presents. You can use pinking shears to add more interest with a zigzag edge, or cut them out using wavy lines.

•    If you have some tall Christmas cards with a beautiful design or picture on, make them into bookmarks to use throughout the festive period next year.

•    Use old cards to make gift bags for next year. Save smart paper bags throughout the year, then cut out some Christmassy designs from your cards and stick them on the bags, adding a ribbon bow as a finishing touch. Voilà - you have some perfect gift bags. You can use the Christmas picture to cover any shop logos.

•    Use your cards to make Christmas decorations. Cut shapes out of different cards – hearts or Christmas trees work well - then stick them back-to-back, punch a hole through the top and loop some ribbon through. You could use these shapes as Christmas tree decorations, to make mobiles or to hang from a string along your window.

•    If you need to find a way to keep the kids quiet, this little task can be a lifesaver. Give them a hole punch and get them to punch lots of holes out of your cards. You'll have ready-made confetti to put in cards and presents next year.

Christmas Wrapping Paper Recycling

•    If you have a home shredder, try shredding your wrapping paper - it makes excellent light packaging to pack inside gift boxes.

•    Some types of wrapping paper - not the shiny or glittery kind - are as effective as newspaper for cleaning your windows. It leaves a perfect streak-free finish.

•    Another one for the kids - thin paper like wrapping paper is excellent for origami. So the kids can make origami Christmas decorations and use them to decorate the house, or to give to friends as little gifts.

•    Use old wrapping paper to decorate dull notebooks to use during the festive season. They would be perfect to use for your Christmas card list.

•    Wrapping paper can also be used to make Christmas decorations. Cut out shapes of plain card, cover them in wrap and use them as decorations for next year's tree.

Those are just a few of the fun ways you can reuse your wrapping paper or cards this Christmas. And if you don't want to do that, remember that most councils will take wrapping paper and Christmas cards in their recycling collections, as long as they're not covered in glitter.

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