Ways To Recycle Greeting Cards and Wrapping

The festivities are over – it is back to the real world. I arrived back at my office the other day to be met with already out-dated Christmas cards littering mine and my colleague’s desks. Are they all to end up in landfill? Of course not! There are so many options when it comes to recycling ‘waste’ associated with Christmas or Easter or whatever new holiday Hallmark comes up with! Once you know them it will boggle your mind that you even considered condemning them (and our planet) as junk! Here are some great ideas for recycling and upcycling the ghosts of Christmas past…


  • Remove the pretty front of the card and use it as a gift tag for next year. You could cut them into shapes (cute templates here) or leave as it is!
  • Save your cards throughout the year and turn them into a Christmas wreath like the gorgeous example below.

From Good Housekeeping (click to link through)

  • If you are crafty or have children, store them in your craft box for use throughout the entire year.
  • Cut the front of your cards into bauble shapes, hole punch the top and hang them off your tree as ornaments next year (bauble templates here).
  • See this DIY tutorial of mine where I show you how to make gift boxes out of old cards!

  • Stack them up and staple them together for a notepad to keep next to the phone
  • Cut the front off and use them as index cards for Christmas recipes
  • Donate your used cards and wrapping paper to a local school or childcare centre for use as craft material

A Blonde Olive Tip

Do a good green deed – Send an email around your office asking people to drop their unwanted cards to your desk. You can then make sure they get recycled, reused, dropped to a school or composted. At the very least you can start a conversation with your colleagues to hear other ideas, boost awareness or even find a little eco friend in your workplace. 


  • Festive mulch! Turn any plain (not glossy) wrapping paper or old cardboard into mulch by composting it or sticking it in your worm farm. If you don’t have a composting system check with your local city farm as they can sometimes use it.
  • Don’t contaminate your recycling bin! The following items are all non-recyclable – foils, glossy wrapping paper, cellophane or paper with remnant sticky-tape on it.


  • Commit to giving sustainably next time. For Christmas this year I gave out some green guidelines which have tips on how to make your wrapping, gift choice and decorating sustainable!
  • If you are giving gifts that have come in gift bags (or wine bottle bags) make sure you don’t write in the attached card so that whoever you are giving it to can reuse it.
  • Let your family know how you feel about waste. I told my family not to worry about cards this year and it avoided the “Dear Em, Happy Christmas, Love Bob” scenario. I got a few – with lovely messages inside – and I will keep them and stick them up next year!
  • Next year, send an e-card instead! Me and my husband sent this JibJab e-card (that cost nothing to us or the planet) to our family and they are all still laughing at it.
oliveonblonde, ecard, emily ehlers, mark ehlers

Click on the image to see our holiday ecard that we sent to our friends!

Useful Links

Planet Ark – A recycling Mecca of information – http://www.planetark.org/

Recycling Near You has all the information you need to know about what, where and how to recycle things from wrapping paper to computers –  http://recyclingnearyou.com.au/

National Recycling Hotline – 1300 733 712

11 thoughts on “Ways To Recycle Greeting Cards and Wrapping

  1. For my family this year (the only ones who demand christmas cards) I bought people and planet calendars and diaries and used them as a combination card/present. By writing my christmas ditty in the front, I managed to eliminate the need for cards, raise money for an awesome charity, give a beautiful gift AND let them have my christmas thoughts all year!

    • Hi Dan,

      What a fab idea! They then also have a reminder of it for an entire year or maybe longer (I keep all my diaries/calendars). I’ll definitely use that for next year!

      Funny you mention it actually – just bought myself a People & Planet calendar (and blogged about it). They are just divine. I think May is my fave?

      Thanks so much for sharing!!

      • Your two blogs actually reminded me of it. I love the P&P products and Lexi from P&P actually put me onto your blog.. I like what I see… I’ll probably lurk around a little for a while and keep up to date with what you’re putting up on here :)

        Is May the old Bangladeshi guy with the incredible hair? He is definitely my favourite :)

        • Oh that’s great to hear! Hopefully you will like what you see on here and if you do you can always subscribe and get my articles straight to your inbox. :)

          And yep, May is the Bangladeshi man. In the blurb you actually find out (instead of hair) he is carting around masses of jute. It’s quite an unsettling photo. I love it!

          • I actually have subscribed! I do like what I see and quite a lot of it is really relevant to what I’m doing and where my head is at :) Hopefully I can contribute snippets through comments here and there!

            I was going through the diary with my brother in law today and he pointed out a photo of some Indian girls which is also something amazing. “Do not go gentle into that good night” – the second of the April photos.

            Love your work!

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  3. Pingback: DIY Gift Boxes from Recycled Cards | Olive on Blonde

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