RECYCLING is important throughout the year but even more so at Christmas.

More food, extra glass and plastic bottles, heaps of cards and wrapping paper. Not to mention a pool of batteries, gift boxes, bottle bags, decorations and withered Christmas trees.

If nothing else, it is important to know what can and cannot be recycled.

A little planning can stop the need to throw everything but the kitchen sink in a black bin liner ready for the groggy first collection of the year.

Frustratingly, a lot of the materials used during Christmas – wrapping paper, gift bags, some cards, tinsel, baubles and bubble wrap – are all non-recyclable.

Glitter wrapping paper is notoriously difficult to recycle and clogs machinery. The metallic stuff does the same. Most councils won’t accept it. It’s best not to use it all but if you do, it has go straight in with the usual rubbish.

The best way to see if wrapping paper is recyclable is scrunch it up, if it crumples it can go in the recycling bin, if it springs back straight it can’t.

Nevertheless, they could be re-used to make decorations for next year or tags for presents. Used wrapping paper could be shredded and used to protect delicate items or decorations in storage.

If you’re a scrapbooker, used tags, cards, wrapping paper, newspaper and festive magazines are perfect for your next project.

Empty jar of pickled onions on the buffet? 1,000 page festive TV guide? They can both be recycled.

Beer and wine bottles, drinks cans, plastic bottles can go in the bin with them.

If you have had a real Christmas tree this year, make sure to dispose of it at the nearest recycling centre.

Tree chippings are a useful way to prevent weeds growing in your garden.

The council makes use of old Christmas trees by spreading them across parks and woodland.

The highlight of Christmas day is undoubtedly the dinner. Food is not excluded from the list of recyclable things. Don’t forget to reuse it. A turkey carcass can be boiled with spare raw vegetables and herbs and made into stock. It will keep for months if frozen and can make all manner of meals tastier without much effort at all.

The possibilities are endless with leftover turkey. If there is some left after sandwiches, throw it in a wok with fried rice, use it in a soup, stew or slow cooked chilli. It will work wonders in a risotto or Thai green curry. Turkey and potato curry is excellent. Why not sprinkle it over a pizza?

If all else fails, turkey, sausage, stuffing and roast potato would make an excellent pie filling.

Sprouts are a great addition to bubble and squeak and a cheeseboard would be most welcome in a macaroni and cheese. Use your leftover veg and trimmings for compost.

By Boxing Day, I’m sure the dream toy your child hasn’t put down is in need of some new batteries. Old batteries should definitely be recycled.

Anything made of foil is a no-no.

Sheets of foil, foil trays and sweet wrappers must all go in with the regular rubbish.

Nothing can match the excitement of waking up on Christmas morning and getting to work on tearing through the paper to get to your presents.

discarded wrapping paper can be recycled as long as it is not made of foil.

With the rise of online shopping, more and more cardboard is used to deliver packages. This should definitely be recycled. Break it down and put it in the green bin. Same for old crackers.

Paper cups, paper plates and napkins – especially after they have been used – cannot be recycled.

If you’re not reusing gift boxes for future presents, they could be used for storage.

They would also make great draw dividers.

So when Christmas has come and gone, presents are unwrapped, dinner is devoured and beer is consumed, take a few minutes to sort out what can and cannot be recycled.

Fuel up on turkey and stuffing pie, drop off your old toys, withered Christmas tree and broken fairy lights to the recycling centre, take your recycled decorations down and store them in a gift box, stuffed with shredded wrapping paper and tagged with an old card.