Christmas tree ornaments

Christmas tree ornaments
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Christmas tree ornaments are made with all kinds of different materials: glass, clay, wood, paper, plastic and more. The first step in determining whether you can recycle your ornaments is figuring out what they are made of.

It is difficult to recycle glass unless it is in the form of a bottle or jar, so chances are you cannot recycle balls and other glass ornaments. Fired clay is not recyclable, so those cute animals and letters are not recyclable.

Treated wood cannot go in your compost bin, so unless you have completely untreated, non-laminated shapes hanging on your tree, they will need to go in the trash.

Plastic toys and ornaments are also not recyclable.

Paper Christmas tree ornaments can be recycled in most cases. If your kids decorated a paper ornament with macaroni noodles, photographs, glitter, ribbons or other embellishments, remove and throw those away and recycle any remaining paper.

The other option for disposing of unwanted Christmas tree ornaments in an eco-friendly way is donating them to a thrift store. Many places will accept ornaments in good condition and sell them to other people looking for new ways to dress the tree.


If you are artistic or crafty, ornaments can be made from many used materials, like colored paper, old holiday cards, old CDs or DVDs, old ribbons, disposable aluminum pie pans, pasta shapes, feathers, etc. You can find links to some "DIY ornament" sites on the internet.

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Christmas tree ornaments are often not recyclable. They are often made of materials that have no value to a future market, or they are made of mixed materials, which are difficult to separate for recycling. In some cases they are just too small to pass through recycling machinery.

Want to be quickly up to speed about recyling in Berkeley?

Discover our recycling guidelines

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