Clearing Up Holiday Recycling Confusion


Clearing Up Holiday Recycling Confusion

This year, lighten your holiday celebrations by reducing waste and recycling right! Check the Tompkins County Curbside Recycling Guidelines (twice!), and use the following tips as you prepare for the season’s festivities and clean-up afterwards. 

Curbside recycling collection normally scheduled for Friday, December 25th will instead take place one day late on Saturday due to the Christmas holiday. Remember to have your recycling set out by 6:00am (4:00am in the City of Ithaca, 7:30am in Cayuga Heights).

Recycling Bin “Do’s” and “Don’ts” – Holiday Edition:

  • String Lights: DO NOT include. Damaged LED holiday lights can be accepted with electronics at the Recycling and Solid Waste Center. Non-LED style light strands are also accepted, but must have the bulbs removed. Some retail stores and online outlets such as may accept complete older style light strands.
  • Wrapping Paper: DO NOT include metallic, glittery, or foil-lined papers. DO include other wrapping papers by folding into flat sheets before recycling.
  • Ribbons & Bows: DO NOT include. They get tangled around recycling machinery and contaminate other materials.
  • Tissue Paper: DO NOT include. Save tissue paper in good condition to reuse next year.
  • Gift Bags: DO NOT include glittery, metallic, or foil-lined bags. Save gift bags in good condition to reuse next year.
  • Foam Packaging or Packing Peanuts: DO NOT include. These items need to be disposed of in your trash bin.
  • Plastic Shipping Envelopes: DO NOT include. Some plastic shipping envelopes can be recycled at Return-to-Retail drop-off programs.
  • Holiday Cards: DO NOT include cards with glittery, metallic, or foil elements, or cards with electronics and batteries like musical greeting cards. DO include all others.
  • Cardboard Boxes: DO recycle! Flatten boxes to save space.

 Other Holiday Waste Reduction Tips:

  • Purchase wrapping paper, cards, and gifts made with recycled content.
  • Gift personal belongings that you no longer use. 
  • Wrap gifts with newspaper and pages from old magazines.
  • Opt for reusable gift bags and wraps instead of single-use wrapping paper.
  • Gift experiences or services instead of things.
  • Buy used and local to support your community’s economy and check out materials exchange groups on social media.
  • Teach your family and friends how to recycle right during cleanup. Offer prizes for correct answers.


Tompkins Recycling and Materials Management

(607) 273-6632