Guide to Properly Recycling this Holiday

Since the holiday season comes but once a year, while good cheer and celebration is the focus, these celebrations cause trash bins to fill up with extra waste. This year, don’t be so quick to toss everything in the trash, because a lot of items can be recycled, and remember, Santa is watching. Don’t end up on the naughty recycling list.  

“This holiday season, we want to remind folks to check within their local community to see what can be recycled either curbside or through community drop-off locations,” said Ray Scott, Board President of Keep California Beautiful. “In addition to traditional items like bottles and cans, materials like eggnog containers, Styrofoam packaging, food containers, wrapping paper, or holiday lights may be accepted.”
After some investigation, Sun staff discovered recycling these items in Alameda County might be harder than it looks. 

Holiday Lights: Sun staff checked with Alameda County Industries (ACI), Alameda Municipal Power and Encinal Hardware, all of which have been known to provide some sort of light bulb recycling service, but none are equipped to recycle holiday string lights this year. Instead, investigate programs that collect old lights for recycling. 

For more information, visit www.holiday leds.com. 

Wrapping paper: During and after the holidays, one item never in short supply is wrapping paper. Most types of wrapping paper are recyclable. To be environmentally conscious this season, avoid foil or metallic papers, as they are not accepted by ACI. If you do choose the foil or metallic paper, save and reuse it next year. 

Packaging, cups and food containers: With all the partying and gift giving happening around the holidays, there is bound to be some foam packaging leftover. This polystyrene foam, often mistakenly called Styrofoam, isn’t accepted by ACI. Instead the local garbage company recommends donating packing materials like styrafoam peanuts to the local UPS or Mailboxes Etc. store. For more information about foam recycling visit www.homefor foam.com. 

Holiday trees and wreaths: According to ACI, when recycling a Christmas tree or wreath, place small items in the green bin. Small trees must be cut so as not to get stuck in the bin or keep the lid open. Trees should be out loose for pickup, not bagged or wrapped, and make sure all ornaments, decorations, tinsel and tree stands have been removed. Trees more than six feet tall should be cut in half. 

Fake and flocked trees cannot be composted, contact ACI to arrange for special disposal at 483-1400.

Keep California Beautiful contributed to this article.