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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! You can do your part to cut down on the amount of holiday waste that ends up in the landfill by following these holiday recycling tips:

All types of batteries are accepted at the recycling and reuse building at the Seattle Public Utilities’ Transfer Stations. Household Hazardous Waste facilities also accept alkaline batteries (AAA, AA, C, D, 9v) for recycling. Find out what to do with other types of batteries using our Where Does It Go tool.

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, but please bundle it together in a tied plastic bag before you toss it in the cart.

Updating your wardrobe this holiday season? Don’t trash old clothes. Threadcycle them! Ripped, worn, and stained clothes and linens, heavily worn shoes, and “singles” of items (like socks) are accepted for reuse or recycling by many local organizations—as long as they are not wet, mildewed, or contaminated with hazardous materials. Learn more about Seattle Public Utilities and King County’s Threadcycle program.

Find a place to recycle your electronics through the Take it Back Network or E-Cycle Washington.

Gift Wrap:
Do you meticulously open gifts, or is a tearing frenzy more of your style? If you’re tidy, fold that paper up and use it next year! Otherwise, most wrapping paper can be recycled in your home recycling container. A little tape is fine, but remove the big pieces. Foil or plastic gift wrap goes in the garbage. Tissue paper is recyclable.

Greeting Cards and Envelopes:
Cards and envelopes can be recycled in your curbside container.

Holiday Lights:
Holiday light recycling programs take your old light strands and recycle the copper wire inside them. Check online for locations.

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 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, 2018- Jan. 31, 2019. At apartments, one tree may be placed next to each food and yard waste cart each collection day. Seattle residents can also drop off holiday trees and greens for free at our Transfer Stations from Dec. 26, 2018 through Jan. 31, 2019 (up to 3 trees per vehicle).
Please read about requirements before composting your tree.

For information on how to recycle or dispose of other items, visit Seattle Public Utilities’ Where Does It Go tool.