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Wrapping paper mess on floor in front of Christmas treeDon’t forget about recycling during and after holidays

Barbara Buffaloe, LEED A.P., M.S., former Extension Associate & Resident Instructor, Architectural Studies, University of Missouri Extension


Many people find their homes messy and cluttered after a holiday or birthday. It’s important to consider recycling when deciding how to clean up. Recycling centers vary in what they have the capacity to accept and process. Call your local provider to ask what you can do to recycle.


  • Wrapping paper is a big item that people want to recycle after the holidays. Most wrapping paper can be recycled as long as it’s not the foil type. Tissue paper cannot be recycled. Check with your local provider to confirm that they recycle wrapping paper.
  • Paper plates from parties can be recycled if they do not have food bits on them. This also applies to pizza boxes or other cardboard food containers. If possible, cut out the soiled parts, throw those away and recycle only the clean parts of paper plates or pizza boxes.
  • Christmas trees are recyclable in most places — some cities take them to a bioreactor landfill. Any type of yard waste is good for that system as methane produced is used to generate electricity from this renewable energy source. You can also take the trees to the city’s mulch sites for processing into mulch.
  • Plastic and glass bottles are both great items to recycle. Check with your local provider to find out which plastic bottles are accepted for recycling. Remember to remove the lids from all bottles as they can cause a number of problems in the recycling process. The lids may prevent bottles from being compressed on the truck so the bottles then take up more space. This means the collection trucks have to make more trips to empty themselves. In addition, some lids are made of plastics that are not recyclable, and some lids are too small and can jam a recycling center’s equipment.


The website has a lot of information about what is recyclable. For more information about what you can recycle in your area, enter the type of item you want to recycle and your zip code in the search box.


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Last update: Monday, December 19, 2016