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Recycle Your Holidays


Between Thanksgiving  and New Year’s Day, U.S. household waste increases by 25 percent—that’s about 1 million tons per week! Want to do your part to cut down on that extra waste? Check out this list of how-to’s for holiday recycling:


  • Bubble Wrap:
    Reused bubble wrap is great for mailing gifts or storing fragile items. If you can’t reuse it, bubble wrap can go in your home recycling container. Bundle it together in a plastic grocery bag before you toss it in the cart.
  • Christmas Lights:
    Burned-out string lights (or old lights that you’ve replaced with energy-efficient LED lights) can be recycled. Holiday light recycling programs take your old light strands and recycle the copper wire inside them. Check online for locations.
  • Clothing:
    Making room in your closet for those new clothes on your holiday wish list? Up to 95 percent of the clothes, shoes and linens thrown in the garbage could have been reused or recycled. Local organizations want all your clothes, shoes, and linens for reuse or recycling—even damaged goods—in any condition except wet. Learn more through Seattle Public Utilities and King County’s Threadcycle program.
  • Electronics:
    Recycle electronics at a Take it Back Network location. They will take back products such as computers, TVs, cell phones and certain other household electronics. You can recycle computers, monitors, TVs and e-readers for free at E-Cycle Washington locations.
  • Gift Wrap:
    Most wrapping paper can be recycled in your home recycling container. A little tape is fine, but remove the big pieces.
  • Greeting Cards and Envelopes:
    These can be recycled in your home recycling container.
  • Packing Peanuts:
    Foam packing peanuts are not recyclable, but they are reusable. Many gift stores or shipping centers will accept clean packing peanuts free of charge to reuse in packaging or shipping.
  • Ribbons and Bows:
    Save these to use again. Ribbons and bows that aren’t reusable go in the garbage.
  • Trees and Other Holiday Greens:
    Seattle residents can put their Christmas trees and holiday greens out next to their food and yard waste carts on their regular collection day at no extra charge from Dec. 26, 2015 through Jan. 31, 2016. Seattle residents can also drop off holiday trees and greens for free at Seattle Public Utilities’ South Transfer Station from Dec. 26, 2014 through Jan. 31, 2016.

For more information on how to recycle or dispose of holiday items, visit one of the following:

Seattle Public Utilities’ Look It Up tool

King County’s Recycle the Holidays page