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Holiday Recycling Tips

tangled holiday lightsThe holidays, which often produce an abundance of extra waste and recycling, are upon us. Deciphering what can be recycled, or how to dispose of certain items, can be challenging. The tips below can help you navigate the holiday recycling season.

  1. String lights and cords might add flare to your tree or home, but they are far from festive in your recycling cart. Lights and cords get tangled at recycling processing facilities and should never be placed in your curbside recycling cart. Instead, bring them to the Washington County Environmental Center (4039 Cottage Grove Drive in Woodbury) for recycling and proper disposal.
  2. Only plain gift wrap and cards can be recycled - anything that has glitter, foil, ribbon or bows is waste, and cannot be recycled. This year, be more creative and wrap your gift in something that is easier to recycle, such as a newspaper or reusable bag.
  3. Take care of those empty boxes. Break down boxes and place them in your curbside recycling cart for disposal. Better yet, make room for those new gifts and consider filling up a box or two of old things to donate for reuse by someone else.
  4. Be aware of your recycling day. Holidays tend to affect collection schedules for trash and recycling. Be sure to check with your recycling hauler regarding schedule changes.
  5. Batteries might power up that new TV remote or children's toys, but they contain toxic metals and pose threats if not properly disposed of. All battery types are accepted at the Washington County Environmental Center for proper disposal.
  6. New electronic items are a popular holiday gift. Drop off old or broken electronics at the Washington County Environmental Center. For devices still in working condition, consider selling, gifting or donating them to someone else. 
A list of acceptable items and more information is available on the Environmental Center website.

Tree and wreath composting

When the holiday season is over, recycle trees by dropping them off at one of the available locations in Washington County. Facilities have varied hours of operation, fees, and restrictions. Tree stands, plastic bags, tinsel, wire, lights and all other decorations must be removed before drop-off. View a list of locations on the Washington County website.

Private waste haulers may also accept holiday trees. Residents can contact their trash hauler directly for more information.