Take the food, family, gifts, and meaning of Christmas out of the equation and what do you have left?  A lot of trash!  Food waste, gift wrap, boxes, cards, decorations, and more add up to an abundance of items you'll probably want (need) to get rid of.  But how do you do it responsibly?

Factually, a lot of that extra trash is recyclable - and should make it's way into your curbside container for pick up.  But some of it isn't and many people - in the spirit of "doing good for the environment" will try to recycle stuff that they shouldn't.

Sorting through the mess (garbage) that any holiday brings can easily start with a practical approach:  Throw away what you usually do and recycle the sort of items that you are already putting out for the recycle pick up.  That means food waste belongs in the garbage; plastic, tin, and glass belong in the recycle cart - for the most part.

Here is a "cheat sheet" to answer your holiday "do I throw or do I recycle" questions:


  • Plain wrapping paper and plain paper gift bags
  • Corrugated cardboard and gift boxes
  • Paper greeting cards without glitter
  • Shiny inserts, catalogs, junk mail


  • Tinsel
  • Ornaments
  • Garland
  • Plastic and evergreen wreaths
  • Gift wrapping that is shiny, contains foil or glitter, or is made from mylar
  • Gift bags made from plastic, foil, mylar, have plastic or string handles, or contain glitter
  • Tissue paper
  • Tableware:  Paper, plastic, and foam plates and cups.  Cutlery.  Napkins and tablecloths
  • Cookware - like foil and foil pans
  • Alkaline batteries

Recyclable at other locations:

  • Real Christmas trees
  • Christmas lights and electrical cords
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Single use plastic bags

You can see the complete list and get more details by clicking here.


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