Wrapping up Christmas Waste

The Waimakariri District Council are asking residents not to be foiled by unrecyclable Christmas wrapping this festive season.

While paper wrapping can be put in the yellow recycling bin - metallic, plastic or foil wrap or gift bags aren’t recyclable and need to go into the rubbish.

“Following the present unwrapping frenzy, it’s easy to scoop all the wrapping, ribbons, bows and other packaging straight into the recycling bin, but sadly many of these trimmings can’t be recycled”, says Kitty Waghorn, Council’s Solid Waste Asset Manager. “Try to save them for reuse if possible, otherwise they need to be put in the rubbish.”

Below are some handy tips to guide you through the post-festive clean-up and help reduce recycling bin contamination.

Disposing of gift wrapping Scrunched up Christmas wrapping paper

  • Clean, flat cardboard and paper larger than an envelope can go in the yellow bin.
  • Plastic ribbons, bows and shiny foil/metallic wrapping paper and gift bags go in the rubbish. If it has a shiny inside or is hard to tear and feels like plastic, it’s probably plastic and should go in the bin.
  • Can you rip the wrap? Try the tear test – if you can’t easily rip it, it’s likely to have a plastic coating so pop it in the rubbish to be safe. The same applies if you scrunch the wrapping and it opens back out.
  • Small pieces of paper, tissue wrap and natural cotton ribbons can go in the organics bin.
  • Plastic wrap, bubble wrap, cellophane, plastic ribbons and bows need to go in the rubbish. A better option is to save them and reuse them next year.
  • Polystyrene packaging can’t go in the recycling bin. You can dispose of it at the Southbrook Resource Recovery Park for free, otherwise it should to go in the rubbish.

Toy and gift packaging

  • Plastic packaging of any kind, twisty ties, plastic strapping and soft plastic packaging goes in the rubbish.

Christmas trees

  • Real trees can be cut into small pieces and put in the organics bin, or taken to the green-waste area at the transfer station (standard charges will apply).
  • Fake trees that have seen better days need to go in the rubbish if they can’t be passed onto someone else.
  • Ornaments and tinsel go in the rubbish if they can’t be donated to someone else.

Breakages and broken glass

  • If you got a little frivolous with your toasting over Christmas dinner, broken glassware needs to be wrapped in paper and put in the rubbish. The same applies to crockery, Christmas ornaments or any other type of broken glass.


  • Leftover food including turkey and meat bones can go in the organics bin along with food soiled cardboard takeaway containers, paper towels, serviettes and pizza boxes.

Full bins

  • It’s easy to fill recycling and rubbish bins at this time of year.  The bin lid needs to be closed flat for collection, so make sure you don’t overfill your bin.
  • Excess cardboard, glass or other recyclables that won’t fit in the yellow bin can be taken to the transfer stations for free.
  • You can buy Council rubbish bags at local supermarkets and Service Centres for excess rubbish.

Unwanted gifts

  • If you received something you don’t need or want, pass it on to a charity shop, re-gift to someone else or take it to the ReSale store at the Southbrook Resource Recovery Park (excludes electrical items).

Bin Collection

  • Over the Christmas and New Year period, if your wheelie bins are normally emptied on a Friday, they will be emptied on the Saturday instead as there is no collection on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
  • Bins normally emptied on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday go out as usual over the Christmas/New Year period.

Click here for more information about the items that can go in your yellow bin.