WasteWise Holidays: Recycle it right

WasteWise Holidays: Recycle it right
Posted on 12/27/2021

The holiday season is winding down and it’s time to make sure that reusable and recyclable items don’t find their way into the trash. 


“It’s important to recycle items that have a high potential to help reduce carbon emissions,” said Lane County Waste Management Waste Reduction Specialist Angie Marzano. “Electronics fall into this category and should be recycled as quickly as possible while there is still a change to refurbish and renew the items. Gaming systems or phones that sit in a drawer for years often can’t be refurbished and reused – although materials within those electronics can still be recycled.”




Recycling and reusing electronics saves the energy used in mining and processing of raw materials, conserves natural resources, and reduces environmental degradation, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for every one million cell phones we recycle, 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.


Locally, residents can recycle electronics at NextStep Recycling in Eugene – and residential drop-off is free! NextStep staff and trainees will safely remove your data and personal information from your device. Then they will refurbish your donation and give it to someone who otherwise wouldn't have access to technology. If they can't fix it, they will recycle it for you by working with Oregon Department of Environmental Quality approved processors. 


NextStep’s Donation and Training Center is located 245 Jackson Street in Eugene. Visit http://nextsteprecycling.org/residential-recycling.html or call 541-686-2366.




Recycle Wrapping and Tissue Paper

Wrapping paper that does not contain foil, glitter or coated elements can be recycled. Tissue paper used for wrapping gifts or in gift bags is also recyclable. (Facial tissue should be placed in the trash.) Save bows and ribbons for future gift giving. 


Recycle Christmas Lights

NextStep Recycling accepts functioning and non-functioning Christmas lights for recycling. Proceeds from the recycled lights go to a different charity each year.

Recycle (Compost or Mulch) Christmas Trees

Boy Scout Troop 182 offers pickup for $10 on weekends between December 28 and January 19. It doesn’t take flocked or painted trees. Get more information on the Troop’s website.


You can take your tree to Rexius (150 Highway 99, Eugene) or Lane Forest Products (2111 Prairie Rd., Eugene and 820 N. 42nd St., Springfield). Both accept green and flocked trees for a fee.




Recycle Block Styrofoam

St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) is Lane County’s source for recycling white #6 EPS, expanded polystyrene block foam (commonly known by the brand name Styrofoam). SVdP shreds block Styrofoam and melts it to form bricks, making it more cost-effective to transport to manufacturers.


Households in Eugene and Springfield can recycle a shopping cart’s worth of Styrofoam at any St. Vincent de Paul store location for no charge. Keep it clean and remove any tape. No food containers, cups, etc. St. Vincent de Paul charges a modest fee for businesses; click here to read more about the Styrofoam recycling program for businesses.


Reuse Packaging Materials

Many area businesses reuse clean packing peanuts and bubble wrap, but especially the pack-and-ship outlets. Check with a business you usually frequent to find out if they want your excess, clean packing materials. 



WasteWise Lane County

WasteWise Lane County offers education, tools and resources that residents, schools, and businesses can use to reduce waste, conserve resources and live more sustainably. Visit www.LaneCountyOR.gov/wastewise to learn more.