Recycling During the Holidays

Posted on Dec 22, 2020 by Theresa Lehman

Christmas Recycling

Did you know that Americans generate 25 percent more waste than average between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day? According to the EPA, 80 percent of what is thrown away during the holidays can be recycled or repurposed? Here are 10 simple holiday recycling tips we all can do to make a positive difference on our environment:

  1. Christmas Cards – Repurpose your Christmas cards from this year as gift tags for next year.
  2. Gift Bags, Ribbons & Bows – Reuse gift bags, ribbons and bows next year.
  3. Wrapping Paper – Standard wrapping paper can be recycled. Anything that has glitter and foil or is metallic or glossy can be saved and reused next year, or it has to go in the trash.
  4. Cardboard, Plastic & Paper – Recycle your cardboard. Any packaging that includes plastic, such as toy packaging, must remove the plastic before placing the cardboard in your recycling bin. If the plastic has a number 1 thru 7, the plastic must be separately placed in your recycling bin. If the plastic doesn’t have a number, it must go in the trash. Sticky gift tags are not recyclable by themselves, but they are acceptable if affixed to an envelope or wrapping paper. Just a reminder to keep your items in your recycle bin loose. Never bag or bundle your recyclables.
  5. Plastic – Bubble wrap, cellophane, and plastic bags cannot go into your normal recycling. Instead it can be recycled at a plastic bag collection bin at a local store.
  6. Batteries – Batteries can be recycled for free at any Batteries Plus location.
  7. Electronics – If people in your family received new electronics, please make sure to properly recycle the old electronics. Stores such as Best Buy offers recycling programs.
  8. Christmas String Lights – Christmas string lights cannot go into your regular recycling and shouldn’t go into your trash either, as the strands of lights get tangled in the landfill and recycling equipment. Instead, most recycling centers and landfills take Christmas string lights for free of charge. Locally, Outagamie County Recycling & Solid Waste will take them for free. Simply go to Lane #2 and drop them off.
  9. Artificial Tree – Donate your gently used artificial tree to a local charity or nonprofit organization, such as Goodwill. If it has reached the end of it’s useful life, recycle the metal and or plastic and throw away the artificial pine needles.
  10. Real Trees – Cut up and burn your tree for a bonfire to socially distance with family and friends, or check with your local municipality for designated pick-up days.
Theresa Lehman

About Theresa Lehman

Dedicating her entire career to sustainable practice, Theresa has worked on more than 70 projects seeking LEED® certification utilizing the LEED®-NC, LEED®-CI, LEED®-CS, LEED®-EBOM, and LEED® for Schools green building rating systems. She has successfully certified projects that have earned LEED® certification at all four award levels including: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Her portfolio of LEED® projects includes many “Wisconsin firsts” such as the first State of Wisconsin LEED® certified project, the first healthcare facility, the first LEED®-EBOM Schools, the first LEED® for Schools project and the first zero-net energy / carbon neutral project–the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center–the “greenest building on the planet” according to Rick Fedrizzi, former President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council.

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