GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The Kent County Department of Public Works has released its recycling guide for reducing waste during the holiday season.
From wreaths to gift bags, some holiday items require special disposal or aren’t able to be recycled. The holidays are a time when more waste is generated and less is recycled.
According to Stanford University’s waste reduction, recycling, composting and solid waste program, people in the U.S. create 25% more waste in the holiday period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than any other time of year.
“We know people produce more waste during the holidays than other times of year, so the 2023 Holiday Recycling Guide is a helpful guide for how to dispose of common holiday items and reduce waste,” said Katelyn Kikstra, waste reduction educator with the DPW.
“The DPW has many resources for helping residents keep waste out of landfills for the health of our land, air, water and Great Lakes.”
The recycling guide can be found by going to this link here and then looking for the Holiday Recycling Guide on the right sidebar.
As always, items that can be put in curbside recycling bins include glass bottles and jars, food cartons, hard plastics like jugs and tubs, cardboard, metal cans, foil and paper products like toilet paper tubes, paper cups, junk mail and more.
Items that were used for food should be thoroughly cleaned before recycling.
Here’s a list of holiday items that need special disposal, according to the 2023 Holiday Recycling Guide:
- Holiday décor: Trees, wreaths and garland cannot be recycled but can be reused or donated, according to the 2023 guide, and live trees can be composted through local waste services. Wrapping paper and gift bags are not usually recyclable due to heavy inks, dyes, and glitters, but they can be reused. Plain kraft paper can be easily recycled in a curbside recycling bin.
- Holiday string lights are recyclable through special collection drop-offs but should not be placed in a curbside bin because they can get tangled in the DPW’s equipment.
- Packaging: Online gift ordering means an excess of packaging waste this time of year. Styrofoam and flexible plastic film, like bubble wrap and shipping envelopes, can be recycled at special drop off locations.
- Batteries: Rechargeable and button batteries can be brought to a DPW SafeChem location for safe disposal, while alkaline batteries can be taped and placed in the trash.
- Frying oil: Whether from latkes or a turkey, frying oil should not be dumped down the drain or tossed in the trash. Bringing it to one of DPW’s SafeChem locations will allow it to be made into biofuel.