(WSYR-TV) — The Holidays often bring a lot of waste from wrapping paper to gift boxes to ribbons and more, but where does that waste go?
During the Christmas and gifting season, Americans generate more than one million tons of trash per week according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That’s a lot of waste!
Instead of throwing everything in the trash this holiday season, why not learn about what things can go in the recyclables?
Despite some people trying to recycle properly, there is often some confusion with recycling guidelines, especially around the holiday season.
Holiday waste tips: How to dispose of Holiday waste properly and be greener this Holiday
Christmas trees can be picked up by Waste Management under certain protocols.
The best option is to call your local waste management and see what the maximum tree length is for pickup and if they can’t pick it up, you can drop it off at a Waste Management location.
For tree removal, make sure all tinsel, lights or ornaments are removed and leave your tree at the curb the night before tree pickup. If it’s snowing or raining and the ground freezes, make sure the tree isn’t stuck to the ground.
Do the same for any garlands or wreathes to make sure where you can drop it off or if there’s a yard waste recycling program for them.
Christmas Tree Lights
If your Christmas tree lights break or are old and you want to get rid of them, Home Depot and Lowes accepts tree lights, and they will recycle them for you.
Tree lights are made of materials like copper, glass and plastic so they cannot and must not go in the trash.
Holiday Gift Boxes
Gift boxes can be recycled. Before throwing the box in the recycles, make sure it’s broken down all the way.
Breaking down boxes also helps save space in your recycling bin for even more boxes that you can get rid of.
Out of all the holiday waste, wrapping paper is the most popular as lots of people tend to wrap their holiday gifts in colorful patterned paper. However, before you go throwing it all in the trash, know that wrapping paper is recyclable!
Before recycling wrapping paper, make sure there is no sticky tape, ribbons or bows attached. Also, keep in mind that trash foil or glitter-decorated wrapping paper is not recyclable.
If you have any bubble wrap, avoid putting it in the recyclables as it can get tangled in recycling sorting equipment.
- Fruit and Vegetable peelings
- Coffee Grounds
- Small amounts of soiled paper or cardboard
Food scraps are not recyclable, however, there are things you can do with your scraps to make the world a little greener this Holiday. Composting is a great option as it diverts food waste from landfills that emit harmful greenhouse gases and instead put food waste back into facilities that can use it for other things like healthier soil.
Foil trays can be reused easily by simply washing them and saving them for another time. However, if the tray is ripped or has holes and is unusable, it can be recycled.
The easiest way to get rid of Holiday decor that you don’t want is to donate to someone who will want it! Donating your old holiday decorations not only saves the environment from more waste but it also can go to a family in need of some Holiday spirit.
If you decide to buy new holiday decor, consider making your own out of recycled materials.
Instead of wasting paper on invitations this Holiday, be greener and use email or social media holiday greetings and cards.
If you are hosting a Holiday party, try and use washable utensils, plates, glasses, cloth napkins, and reusable table covers. Even though it will be a hassle washing everything, you are saving the planet by not putting so many plastic forks and plates into the trash.