Holiday Recycling Made Easy

Reuse? Recycle? Repurpose? Tips for handling holiday waste
From reusing ribbons and bows to recycling the tree, Metro’s Judie Miller shares tips on what to do with what’s left after the holidays

Recycle at home or at selected drop-off sites
• Wrapping paper: Recyclable if 100 percent paper. Bits of tape OK. Wrap not recyclable if Mylar, glitter-coated, plastic or a foil-paper mix.
• Greeting cards: Recyclable if 100 percent paper; no glitter, foil or plastic. Instead, cut the cards into gift tags for next year.
• Tree, wreath, swag: Set out as yard debris at single-family residences, but remove wire and frames from swags, wreaths and garlands. Tree only – no hooks, lights or the like, which would contaminate the compostable waste and may damage equipment. If the tree is at an apartment, condo or business, call Metro Recycling Information for options.

Save for reuse
• Ribbons, bows, gift bags: Recyclable if 100 percent paper, but most are plastic or have a plastic coating that makes them durable and, therefore, nonrecyclable. Save for reuse.   
• Boxes: Recyclable if 100 percent paper or cardboard. Save for reuse.

Drop off for recycling or reuse
• Packing peanuts: Not recyclable curbside. Take clean, dry packing peanuts to a packaging store for reuse. Some also may accept bubble wrap, sheets of packing foam. 
• Block foam: Not recyclable curbside. A handful of businesses accept polystyrene block foam (marked “6” or “PS” inside the recycling symbol) for recycling. Not recyclable in the Portland metropolitan area if marked “4,” “5,” “PP” or “HDPE.”
• Rechargeable batteries: Not recyclable curbside in the Portland metropolitan area. Metro’s household hazardous waste program and many businesses recycle them.
• Plastic packaging: Not recyclable curbside. Some recycling depots accept selected rigid plastics.
• Still-good items replaced with gifts: Consider donating to nonprofits seeking good-condition clothing, housewares, toys and electronics to give or sell to needy residents.
• Broken small appliances and electronics: If they’re beyond repair, call Metro Recycling Information for drop-off options.
• Strings of Christmas lights: Some drop-off sites accept them. The Oregon Zoo’s gift shop will accept them through Dec. 31, 2009.
• Catered leftovers: Visit by clciking here for details on donating unopened leftovers.

For further details on post-holiday recycling, including local drop-off sites for electronics, selected packaging materials, still-good clothing and more, call Metro Recycling Information at 503-234-3000 or visit their website by clicking here


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