12 Days of Christmas Tips on Disposing of Holiday Waste
Learn what holiday items are easily recyclable
- Aluminum or tin beverage and food containers are widely accepted. Be sure to rinse out the items and place in your bin or cart. Leftover food residue could contaminate an entire load of items making everything unrecyclable, so be sure to keep it clean.
- While most greeting cards can be recycled, consider repurposing the ones that cannot. Upcycle cards by making paper crafts with them such as cutting out the designs to use them as gift tags or ornaments for next year’s holiday season.
- Strings of popcorn and even tinsel garland are considered household waste. Place these items in your garbage containers for disposal.
- Most paper wrappings can be reutilized, but not recycled. Unfortunately, shiny or laminated paper is not recyclable. Placing it in the bin could contaminate the entire load. Instead, you can use wrapping paper to line drawers or bookcases, or even shred it for New Year’s Eve confetti.
- Jugs for egg nog or other beverages labeled #1, 2 and 5 are accepted.
- Empty stockings and miscellaneous holiday décor could be donated or traded. Ask friends, relatives or even research your area for barter and swapping sites to trade decorations. What’s old to you, could be new to someone else!
- Burnt-out bulbs, specifically incandescent bulbs unfortunately are not accepted at most recycling centers. However, string lights are accepted at the City’s Drop off Center. Incandescent bulbs don’t contain any toxic materials, you may simply throw these burnt-out bulbs into the trash.
- Ugly holiday-themed sweaters and other warm clothing can be donated to local organizations that serve your community. Many non-profits and churches will collect warm clothing and blankets during the winter months and hand out to those in need. Clothing is not an item collected in recycling bins or carts.
- Gift wrap bows are not a recyclable material, but can be saved and easily reused for future presents.
- Kiss mistletoe goodbye and place it in your garbage can or in your compost bin.
- Recycle your old electronics to preserve resources and prevent toxins from entering the environment. These may be recycled at the City Drop off Center on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Fees may apply.
- Bare Christmas trees and wreaths are collected curbside the month of January. Be sure to remove all ornaments and decorative items to make your tree completely bare. Artificial trees cannot be recycled, and our recycling facility does not accept them. But, we do encourage that you donate them, if you are looking to dispose of them after the holidays.
BONUS Day: How do I dispose of foam packing material?
Foam peanuts or blocks are also known as expanded polystyrene, or EPS. Wauwatosa does not recycle this material. You may throw it in the garbage or visit an EPS recycling facility closest to you.
Have other holiday waste you’re not sure how to dispose of? Give Wauwatosa Public Works a call: (414) 471-8422.