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12/19/22

Recycle, Re-purpose Or Toss? The Do’s and Dont’s Of Post Holiday Clean Up  

We know, the the gifts have yet to be been opened, and the needles are still firmly attached to the tree but before we know it, the holidays will be over and it will be time to  pack up the tinsel and fairy lights until next year . The holidays generate up to 25% more garbage in the weeks leading up to, and after, a major holiday. Before you start loading up the garbage bins with what’s left of your holiday celebrations, be mindful of what needs to be tossed and what can be recycled or saved until next year. 

*These guidelines are from Oregon Metro Recycling, and will vary from state to state. 

What CAN Go Into Home Recycle Bins 

Wrapping Paper/cardboard boxes.   As long as it isn’t made of foil or covered in glitter. Before putting wrapping paper in the recycle bin, remove bows and ribbons, or you can save your bows, ribbons and, if you are a careful gift opener, wrapping paper to reuse next year. 

Trees and Wreaths.  Depending on where you live, most most yard debris pick up services will allow fresh trees and wreaths.  Make sure they are free of wire, ribbon and wayward ornaments before putting them out for pick up. There are also non profits organizations that will recycle your tree for a fee. 

What CANNOT Go Into Home Recycle Bins  

Block Styrofoam. In the Portland area you can drop it off to be recycled at Agilyx in Tigard. Otherwise, Styrofoam goes in the trash.

Packaging Peanuts. Check whether your local packaging store can use them. If not, they go in the trash.

Plastic Packaging .This includes film, bubble wrap and the frustratingly challenging pre-formed plastic encapsulating some toys, batteries and electronics. It all belong in the garbage, even if you see a recycling symbol on them.  Some stores may collect plastic bags, film and bubble wrap for recycling. Check with stores first.

String lights. All string lights are not allowed in home recycling bins and must be taken to a recycling station or tossed in the trash.  In Portland, search Metro’s online database for a recycler close to you. 

Alkaline Batteries. Typical batteries like AA for toys and electronics cannot be recycled and instead can be thrown in the trash.  Many other types of batteries can be both toxic and flammable. Take them to a hazardous waste facility or to Best Buy and Staples, both which  accept electronic waste which you can drop off in-store. Lookup a local e-cycling center.

And about those holiday meals, consider composting .  An alternative to recycling or tossing, it is  surprising  what can go into a compost. Coffee grounds, bread, fruit rinds, tea bags, and much of the leftover waste from baking (think potato peels, fruit and vegetable waste, and eggshells) can be tossed into the compost. Also, any paper that does not adhered with glues or plastics can also be broken down, which includes tissue paper and napkins.

Go to Oregon Metro for more information on the what, where and how’s of recycling after the holidays. 

Unfortunately holiday mishaps can happen. Contact EPB&B Insurance to make sure your personal insurance and your business insurance has you covered.

Wishing you and your family a happy holiday.

Broken glass baubles cannot be recycled and must be tossed.
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