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Ultimate Holiday Recycling Guide

Dec 11, 2020

Have a holly, jolly and green holiday this year!

Extra mail packaging, gift-giving and food consumption are some of the ways that waste piles up during the holiday season. We have compiled a list of items commonly disposed of during the holidays to help you decide if an item is recyclable or not.


Do Recycle Do Recycle: Cardboard

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The rising popularity of online shopping has led to a large increase in cardboard recycling. When that special package you’ve been waiting for comes in the mail, be sure to recycle it! Please break down cardboard boxes to help with collection and make room in your bin.


Do Not Recycle Do NOT Recycle: Wrapping Paper, Bows and Tissue Paper

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Many types of wrapping paper include metallic or glitter items that contaminate the stream. Many are also filled with flame retardant chemicals. Wrapping paper should be left out of the recycling stream.


Consider wrapping your gifts in newspaper instead to reuse an old item! Newspaper can be recycled and looks great wrapped around your presents.

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Do Recycle Do Recycle: Cookie Tins

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Metal cookie tins should be recycled; however, they can always be reused again to store fresh baked cookies and more!


Do Not Recycle Do NOT Recycle: Styrofoam

Styrofoam is not good for the environment because it falls apart easily. Styrofoam is not recyclable and should be placed in the trash.


Do Recycle Do Recycle: Glass Bottles and Jars

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Cheers! Glass bottles and jars can be recycled. Please empty, rinse and dry items before placing in your recycling bin.

Please keep broken glass out of your recycling. Wrap broken glassware in newspaper and place in the trash.


It's Complicated: Plastic Toy Packaging

The only plastic items that should be recycled are bottles, containers and jugs that have the numbers 1, 2 or 5 inside the recycling symbol.


For more information on how to determine if a plastic item is recyclable, check out our blog post.


Do Recycle Do Recycle: Paper Bags

When it comes to shopping bags, paper beats plastic. Paper bags can be placed in the recycling bin.


Do Not Recycle Do NOT Recycle: Plastic Film and Plastic Bags

Plastic film including plastic bags, bubble wrap and food packaging can wreak havoc on recycling sorting facilities. Plastic film gets caught in the machinery and can cause the system to shut down. Do not place them in your curbside bin.


Most local grocery stores have drop-off containers designated for recycling plastic film.


Do Recycle Do Recycle: Paper Envelopes

Paper envelopes, even the ones with little windows, can be recycled.


Do Not Recycle Do NOT Recycle: Christmas Lights

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Do not recycle holiday decorations and especially not Christmas lights. When tangly items get to the recycling center, they can get caught in the machines and bring the operation to a stop. Consider donating your lights if they are still working. Christmas lights that are no longer working should be placed in the trash.


It’s Complicated: Holiday Cards

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Paper holiday cards are recyclable but should be placed in the trash if they have special decorations. Examples of decorations include metal foil, glitter or musical components.


How to Dispose of Christmas Trees

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ACUA considers Christmas trees as yard waste and will collect them in towns where we pick up yard waste. If ACUA does not pick up yard waste in your area, contact your town’s Public Works Department for more information.

 Another option is for residents to bring Christmas trees to local farms for disposal.

Click here for more information about yard waste disposal with ACUA and for a list of local farms accepting trees.

Artificial trees are considered bulky waste and cannot be recycled. Consider giving them to someone else for reuse or dispose of them as trash.