Holiday waste: What can go in the recycling bin and what belongs in the trash?

Local News

WEST JORDAN, Utah (ABC4 News) – Christmas lights, wrapping paper, and gift boxes – what can go in the recycling bin and what belongs in the trash?

At Waste Management – Salt Lake Commercial Recycling, supervisor Roger Horne said every month the facility brings in roughly 3,000 tons of recycled items, and during the holidays it sees an increase in recycled items.

“We see a 10 to 15 percent increase,” Horne said.

But not all of it belongs in the blue bin.

“The holiday season doesn’t change what you can and can’t recycle,” Horne said. “This time of year, we get a lot of these [Christmas lights]. They’re not recyclable.”

Horne said lights of any kind are not recyclable and can damage recycling machines.

The facility collects recycling mainly from those on the Wasatch Front and as of Thursday, Horne said Christmas lights are the main holiday item the plant has seen come in. However, he said other festive items like gift wrap and bows will start to come through

“The bows and those kinds of things, they have a film on them that make them contaminated,” Horne said.

He said Christmas trees, ornaments, and garland are other items the plant sees. However, they are not recyclable.

Horne said some items that can be recycled are cardboard, paper, clean plastic bottles, and soda cans. For those who recycle through Waste Management, a full list of what can/can’t be recycled, click here.

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