Post Holiday Recycling Tips
Post Holiday Recycling Tips
The holiday season tends to bring out the best in all of us. This year, consider extending the kindness the holidays bring by treating our environment better! The EPA estimates that the average family throws out 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than at any other time of the year. So, how many of the decorations and other items that brighten up our holidays are recyclable?
Find out below, plus a few tips to ensure you’re recycling each item right.
Can You Recycle Wrapping Paper?
Depending on where you live, you can recycle most types of wrapping paper. The deciding factor is what it’s made of. In cities that accept it, wrapping paper is recyclable as long as it is not metallic (or include any metallic decorations) and doesn’t have any glitter on it.
Tips for Recycling Wrapping Paper
- Check with your recycling service to make sure they accept wrapping paper.
- Make sure no metallic or glittery paper makes it into your recycling bin. These elements can’t be recycled into new paper.
- Don’t recycle tissue paper—the fibers are usually too short to make new paper.
- If you compost, add used tissue paper to your compost pile instead.
- Think about investing in reusable wrapping paper.
- Make an effort to use less wrapping paper whenever possible. Instead, try wrapping presents in:
- Fabric scraps
- Old pillow cases
- Magazine or newspaper pages
- Paper shopping bags
Can You Recycle Christmas Ornaments?
Unfortunately, you cannot recycle most Christmas ornaments. This is because nearly all are made of mixed materials that recycling facilities cannot easily separate.
Even ornaments made from a single material, such as wood or fired clay, shouldn’t go in your recycling bin. Those materials are usually treated with chemicals that will contaminate the load. Paper ornaments are the only exception to this rule.
Tips for Recycling Old Christmas Ornaments
- Do not place any ornaments in your recycling bin unless they’re made solely of paper.
- Homemade paper ornaments can go in your recycling bin as long as there’s no glitter and you remove any non-paper elements, such as beads or macaroni.
- Find ways to reuse the ornaments you can’t recycle:
- Reuse broken glass bulbs as mosaic pieces for craft projects.
- Donate ornaments in good condition to local thrift shops.
- Sell any big-ticket decorations online or at a consignment shop.
- Offer ornaments in good condition to local shelters or other charities that might appreciate the extra holiday cheer.
Can You Recycle Christmas Lights?
There are plenty of options for recycling Christmas lights. While they should not be put in your curbside recycling bin, Christmas lights can be dropped off at or mailed to many different organizations who will keep them out of the landfill.
Tips for Recycling Christmas Lights
- Check if your local Home Depot or Lowe’s collects Christmas lights for recycling.
- Check for local scrap metal companies that take old Christmas lights. Many scrap dealers will remove the valuable copper wire and recycle the rest.
Can You Recycle Holiday Cards?
Holiday cards made solely of paper or cardstock can go right into your curbside recycling bin with all your other paper products. This includes shiny paper and photo cards. However, cards that include non-paper elements take a little more work to recycle.
Tips for Recycling Holiday Cards
- Throw cards covered with glitter or foil in the trash. Unfortunately, they can’t be recycled.
- If only sections of a card contain glitter or foil, the rest of the card can be recycled once they’re removed.
- Remove any ribbon, metal or plastic charms or other non-paper decorations before recycling your holiday cards.
- Remove the electronic components from cards that play music before recycling them.
- If your city has an e-waste program, you can recycle the electronic components as well.
- Don’t forget to recycle envelopes too! No foil-lined envelopes, though.
We hope these recycling tips have helped. Remember this new year, be conscious of what you dispose of. Think before you put items in the garbage, check if they can be recycled, or re-used! If you find yourself with bulk items that need to be disposed of, call us at Waste Solutions 123 for a reliable roll off dumpster!