How can I reuse or recycle tinsel and Christmas decorations?

Christmas decorationsChristmas and all that seems a distant memory now but we’ve had an email from Alison, saying:

We took our decorations down last week and some of the long chains broke. They’re the shiny foil type – can they be recycled?

Now I’m not sure whether they’re actually made from foil – I suspect it is more likely to be plastic but I’m not sure. Anyone know?

If they are made from plastic or are even just part plastic, I doubt you’ll be able to recycle them with your normal foil/cans/metals recycling so any reuse suggestions?

When I was a kid and our decorations used to get too scratty to use in the living room etc, I used to snag them to use in my bedroom instead so maybe keep them for kids to use next year – or shorter lengths could also be used to decorate a cubicle or the like at work.

You could also take advantage of the fact they’re light and for want of a better word, fluffy, and use them for protective packaging when sending items through the post or around presents in gift boxes.

Any other suggestions?

(Photo by bugdog)

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11 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle tinsel and Christmas decorations?”


  1. FactoBrunt says:

    One possibility is to use them for bird scarers on vegetable patches or allotments instead of the old AOL CDs!

  2. Bobbie says:

    I was thinking that they could be used to decorate packages, instead of bows.

  3. Elouise says:

    Use strips of old tinsel to make angel’s halos for kids, e.g. when they do their nativity plays at Christmas. Or else one could make fairy accessories, by adding tinsel bits to hair accessories, alice bands and so on. Little girls are made about fairy wings. I’m sure bits of sparkle could be added to them. My niece only wanted to buy her first bicycle because it was half-draped in tinsel. (The bike itself was irrelevant.)

  4. Fold the decoration down flat and study the way the foil is attached either side of the tear. Use Pritt as it is strong and adaptable to many surfaces. It is a huge shame to discard this sort of item.

  5. Poitghy says:

    I usually make my decorations out of old stuff to start of with. The kids love getting involved and the best ones get saved and reused every year. But if you need new decorations every year, then they make great bits for craft boxes.

  6. prockstar says:

    you can buy clear, undecorated glass bulbs meant for crafting and stuff cut up pieces of garland into them.

  7. Leah says:

    use it in boxes when sending packages to add a coulourful padding to fragile objects.
    cut bits off to make diy chrissie cards
    save it till next year and put round the bottom of the tree to glam it up and reflect the lights

  8. Laura says:

    I am in need of a lot of these ‘foil’ type christmas decorations for an art project im doing. I am particularly interested in gold/silver/copper coloured ones. If you fancy donating them to me then they will be put to good use! I left it too late to buy a lot of them in the shops.

    If anyone else has any unwanted/broken foil christmas decorations then I would be more than happy to take them off of you.

  9. gretta says:

    I use any unwanted items form holidays to decorate unique wreaths and sprays for over my curtains and doorways. Even broken items can be turned to the nice looking side. I always like to have several wreath in and around my home anyway! LOL

  10. Tinsel is fabby when laminated, make some Christmas table mats for last year.



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