If you're like me, you're probably looking at a ton of empty shipping and gift boxes, wrapping paper, string lights - some still working, some not. Some of you even have live Christmas trees. Did you know you can recycle of these items? As Americans, we throw away 25% more between the Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve holidays than any other time of the year.
Things to Recycle During the Holiday Season
Live Christmas Trees
Remove all decorations, ornaments, base, tinsel, and string lights. Take the tree out and yard waste and recycling will pick up and mulch it for large compost piles! Broken Christmas Lights
Hamilton County, Ohio receives matching grant dollars for the value of lights donated this year. The plastic is recycled. String lights are being accepted from 11/1/2020 through the end of February at these Great Parks location.
Recycle shipping and consumer product boxes by removing styrofoam, plastic bags, or non-paper packaging from the boxes and flatten before placing them in your recycling bins or next to the bins for pick up. It is recommended to drop off boxes of big-ticket items at the drop off locations to not attract would-be thieves.
Most gift wrapping paper can be recycled. No wrapping paper with glitter, foil, or plastic.
Recycling All the Other Times of the Year
Paper, plastic, glass, aerosol cans, soup/stock boxes, single size juice cartons, and pizza boxes can all be recycled!
If you're anything like me, you can appreciate a drilled down list of exceptions as you go about your recycling.
Labels can be left on
Plastic containers can be crushed to save space
Lids to plastic containers can be kept on
Aerosol cans ok, if tips are off.
Cartons are ok without straws or caps.
Clean pizza boxes are ok - mostly the lids are accepted.
Soup and stock boxes are ok without the tops.
Consider the 'do not recycle' items (see below)
Metal lids from glass jars can be off and included in the bin
Recycling Drop Off Sites
Here is the link to the drop-off sites for recycling. Some convenient locations include Mt. Echo Park, the Main Library, and Findlay Market. Available during park and business hours. Most bins will be under a shelter with proper signage to direct recyclers.
Things That Cannot Be Recycled
Hamilton County does not accept clothes, batteries (there are several other drop-off locations depending on the type), plastic bags (local grocer accepts these), styrofoam peanuts, cups, or plates, non-paper packaging, and pots and pans.
Other Recycling and Ways to Reduce Waste at Home
A few years ago, my daughter started a volunteer effort at her elementary school to collect cell phones to save the gorilla habitat in Africa. Her whole school participated and when we went on her class trip to the zoo, we made the donation conveniently onsite. It was one way to care for and recycle the metals inside of smartphones to protect the environment. You may have smartphones and other electronics to recycle as well. Here is a list of places that accept old electronics including cell phones.
Other Links of Interest
Click here if you want to learn how to borrow recycling materials for a county event, reduce waste at home and how to properly rid yourself of specific hazardous chemicals. Please check with your local recycling city departments for more information outside of Hamilton County, Ohio.