The Most Wonderful Time to Recycle

Published on
recycling a christmas tree


There are simply a lot more recyclable items during the holiday season.

Items such as paper holiday cards, gift bags/boxes and electronics are more abundant. There may be more food scraps following large holiday dinners, as well as single-use items like red cups (not recyclable), paper plates and plastic utensils.


The guide below will help you navigate all of the opportunities to recycle right this holiday season.


What Holiday Items Should NOT Be Recycled

  • Strands of Christmas lights
  • Tinsel (contains plastic)
  • Plastic bags, bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts
  • Broken Christmas tree bulbs or lights
  • Metallic or foil wrapping paper
  • Wrapping paper that is coated or has glitter
  • Bows, ribbons and tags
  • Stockings, ugly holiday sweaters and other clothing
  • Glass (try and recycle at a purple bin if possible)


Ideas to Reduce Waste

  • Use gift bags – they can be reused several times!
  • Wrap presents in paper bags or newspaper, then place the paper in your recycling cart
  • Reuse gift boxes, then dispose of them with your recycling
  • Decorate using items such as strung popcorn and family heirloom decorations
  • Give gifts that will create an experience:
    • Arts, crafts or cooking classes
    • Concert tickets, movie tickets
    • Seasonal holiday events
    • Escape rooms
    • Visit museums and memorials
    • Baked goods


How Can I Dispose of My Live Tree After the Holidays?

Remove all decorations and place the tree at the curb. Your collector will pick it up during the first two weeks of January.

You can also self-haul it to one of our recycling facilities, either the I-66 Transfer Station on West Ox Road, or the I-95 Landfill complex on Furnace Road in Lorton.


Ways to Reduce Food Waste During the Holidays

  • Cook only enough for the number of people invited for the meal.
  • Eat leftovers as soon as possible to prevent spoilage.
  • Share leftovers with guests as they leave.
  • Skip the single-use plastics and opt for real plates, glasses, and silverware.

If you have food scraps, they can be dropped off at the I-66 Transfer Station or the I-95 Landfill complex during operating hours, or at the Mosaic District Farmers Market on Sundays between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

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