The naughty and nice list when it comes to recycling holiday items


Fairfax County in Virginia has tips on how to recycle Christmas decorations and wrapping paper.

You know the tissue paper that gets shoved into pretty gift bags to hide the presents inside? That paper that should not be put in the recycling bin, according to experts in charge of trash and recycling in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Neither should the ubiquitous plastic red cups.

Holiday related items that should not be recycled, according to the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services include:

  • Strands of Christmas lights.
  • Tinsel because it contains plastic.
  • Plastic bags, bubble wrap and foam peanuts.
  • Christmas tree lights or broken bulbs.
  • Metallic or foil wrapping paper.
  • Wrapping paper that is coated or has glitter.
  • Bows, ribbons and tags.
  • Stockings, holiday sweaters and other clothing.
  • Glass.

Glass can be recycled if it is dropped off at disengaged areas, where big purple dumpsters are in place. Dozens of locations in Northern Virginia participate in the Purple Can Club Glass Recovery Program. Otherwise, it can be taken to the I-66 Transfer Station, the I-95 Landfill Complex, or placed in the trash.

Holiday related items that are OK to put in the recycling bin:

  • Most wrapping paper.
  • Cardboard boxes.
  • Paper boxes.

Live Christmas trees stripped of all decorations will be picked up by collectors in Fairfax County if placed on the curb during the first two weeks of January.

Fairfax County has suggestions for ways to reduce waste related to holiday food and gifts on its website.

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