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. Empty jar of pickled onions on the buffet? 1000 page festive TV guide? They can both be recycled. Beer and wine bottles, drinks cans, plastic bottles can go in the bin with them.

But it's not all simple 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.

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

1. Reuse, even if it's not recyclable

Frustratingly, a lot of the materials used during Christmas are all non-recyclable.

Anything made of foil is a no-no. Sheets of foil, foil trays and sweet wrappers must all go in with the regular rubbish.

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 at 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.

Gift bags, some cards, tinsel, and baubles are also tricky to recycle.

Nevertheless, many of these items 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.

If you’re not reusing gift boxes for future presents, they could be used for storage. They would also make great drawer dividers.

2. Your old Christmas tree could help woodlands

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. Councils make use of old Christmas trees by spreading them across parks and woodland.

3. Don't forget the food

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 the most wonderful pie filling.

Sprouts are a great addition to bubble and squeak and a cheeseboard would be most welcome in a macaroni and cheese.

4. Choose the right home for old batteries

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 and can be at your local recycling centre.

5. Get smarter with packaging

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.

Undoubtedly, the biggest amount of waste comes from discarded wrapping paper. It can all be recycled.

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.

Paper cups, paper plates and napkins – especially after they have been used – cannot be recycled. However, if you have a compost heap they can all be placed on there.