Contact: Lane County Waste Reduction Specialist Sarah Grimm, 541-682-4339
Lane County’s Waste Management Division is here to help you clean up from that delightful mess that comes from holiday celebrations with a few tips on Recycling the Holidays.
Focus first on reducing and reusing before choosing between the blue recycle bin or the green trash heap. Reducing and reusing is better for the environment, saves energy, and money. Use the handy “Recycle the Holidays” tip sheet for more information. (See attached PDF, this chart can be made available in alternate sizes upon request.)
Tips to REDUCE
• Give gifts of service and experience.
• Gift boxes: be creative. Decorate cereal, shoe or other boxes instead of buying new.
• Ribbons and bows: reuse last year’s bows. Make bows out of yarn, dried flowers, video/audio tape, or Mylar food wrappers.
• Wrapping paper: use comics, maps, posters, and cloth for wrapping gifts. If you purchase wrapping paper, make sure it has recycled content – read the label.
• Gift tags: create your own gift tags using last year’s greeting cards, or write the name on the wrapping paper itself.
• Decorations: reuse decorations instead of buying new.
• Catalogs: request that your name be removed from mailing lists at the time of order.
• Disposable dishware and silverware: use durable, washable, silverware instead of disposable dishware. Lane County Waste Management loans out dishware for up to 100 place settings. Call 541-682-2059.
• Christmas tree: decorate a live tree in your yard. Bring a potted tree or evergreen boughs inside to decorate.
• Gift boxes and bags: flatten gift boxes neatly for easy storage and reuse.
• Ribbons and bows: save ribbons and bows in a sturdy box (so bows will not get crushed) to reuse next year.
• Wrapping paper: open gifts carefully, with reuse in mind. Fold neatly and store.
• Greeting cards: save greeting cards as next year’s postcard greetings, gift tags or make ornaments and crafts with them.
• Gift tags: reuse gift wrap, cards, or favorite drawings to make new gift tags.
• Packaging peanuts and bubble wrap: reuse peanuts for your shipping. St. Vincent de Paul and most pack-and-ship stores take peanuts for reuse.
• Block Styrofoam packaging: save flats and scraps for craft projects or future shipping. St. Vincent de Paul accepts block Styrofoam for recycling!
• Catalogs: share with friends and neighbors if interested. Call to remove your name from their mailing list.
• Paper dishware: use washable dishes instead.
• Plastic cups and silverware: many brands of plastic may actually be washed and reused.
• Christmas trees: reuse trimmings from local fir trees to fashion a Christmas tree, swags, and wreaths.
• Gift boxes: recyclable curbside and at Lane County recycling stations.
• Ribbons and bows: not recyclable. Reduce and reuse gift decorations for future gift giving. Donate to thrift stores.
• Wrapping paper: recyclable curbside and at Lane County recycling stations. Foil-coated or plastic-coated papers, gift bags, and ribbons are not recyclable.
• Greeting cards: recyclable as mixed paper curbside or at Lane County recycling stations after plastic parts and foil are removed.
• Gift cards: paper tags are recyclable as mixed paper after string, ribbon, plastic and foil is removed.
• Packing peanuts and bubble wrap: recycling not necessary, highly reusable and desired by pack-and-ship stores, St. Vincent de Paul and various arts and Ebay retailers.
• Block Styrofoam packaging: recyclable at St. Vincent de Paul. Individuals may drop off for free.
• Catalogs: recyclable as mixed paper curbside or at Lane County sites.
• Paper plates, cups, etc.: not recyclable. Please reduce or reuse. May be compostable but beware of plastic liners.
• Plastic utensils, etc.: not recyclable. Borrow place settings from a neighbor or friend, or call Lane County Waste Management at 541-682-2059 to reserve up to 100 place settings.
• Christmas trees: compostable. Ask your garbage company if they recycle trees, put branches in yard debris cart, or watch the news for charities or scouts offering tree pickup/recycling.
Other waste saving tips:
• Mulch your Christmas tree. If you don’t want to mulch it yourself, take trees to Rexius or Lane Forest Products, or use the convenient pick up services that collect for charity.
• Donate extra food to FOOD for Lane County or a pantry, share with guests and friends, or compost!
• When receiving new gifts that replace items that still have a useful life. Remember to donate clothing, furniture, and toys to organizations like St. Vincent de Paul, Goodwill or Salvation Army. Donate electronics such as cell phones and computers to NextStep recycling.
• About 40 percent of all battery sales occur during the holiday season. Buy rechargeable batteries—and a recharger—for electronic gifts. Rechargeable batteries reduce the amount of potentially harmful materials thrown away and may save money in the long run.
For more information about Lane County’s waste prevention and reduction efforts go to: www.lanecounty.org/recycle