Your Guide to Holiday Recycling

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Holiday Recycling Tips

holiday recycling tips
Creative Commons License photo credit: supervillain

With all the parties, food and gifts during the holidays, more garbage is produced in December than any other time of the year. Follow a few simple holiday recycling tips from RecycleScene to help reduce, reuse and recycle, and balance waste and trash with creativity and conservation.

Rechargeable batteries are a smart option for any gift or decorative gadgets because they are very easy to recycle. Simply go go to the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation website at to find where to drop them off for responsible recycling.

Most cardboard from your new appliance boxes or gifts is easily recycled, as it is likely that cardboard is accepted with your curbside service. Sometimes cardboard is recycled in incredibly cool ways, like we highlighted in 4 Amazing Gadgets Made from Cardboard.

Christmas Trees
Consider purchasing a live tree that you replant after the holidays. If you are purchasing a live tree this holiday season, make sure to purchase locally grown trees if possible. Fake Christmas trees are potentially made out of toxic PVC and chemicals, may contain lead.

Trees are usually collected during the first week of January by local Cub Scout troops or other organizations that fundraise by selling mulch. See how Christmas trees are used to feed elephants and restore habitat in our feature on Christmas tree recycling.

Donate old clothes (and toys) to groups such as the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul, Goodwill, or other local organizations and thrift stores that provide secondhand goods. If it’s too cold to even bother leaving the house, go online! is where families swap kids clothing and toys online. Join thredUP’s FREE online community to exchange stuff you no longer use.

Many places are in need of old, working computers or other electronics. As mentioned above, your local thrift store will take items you no longer need. If you are affiliated with a non-profit or school, you can also find recycled hardware for your organization. For low-cost, warrantied refurbished computers, visit TechSoup’s Refurbished Computer Initiative.

Holiday Light Recycling
Every year for the first few weeks of November, Home Depot gives discounts for trading in and recycling broken and used holiday lights. Sears, Ace and other stores often have similar initiatives. If you missed it this year, get on top of it for next year. Go even further and make the switch to energy efficient LED holiday lights.

Many cities and counties partner up with to collect unusable strings of broken lights for the holiday season to keep them out of landfills. Copper is recovered and the plastic parts are recyclable. Residents can recycle strands of incandescent, LED lights, and extension cords, often for no charge and they can be in any condition, so look for a program near you.

Scotch Tape
Keep used tape dispensers out of landfills! Instead of throwing out your empty Scotch tape cores and dispensers, give them a second life by sending them in through the innovative Disposable Tape Dispensers Zero Waste Box by Terracycle. Recycling tape dispensers makes a positive impact! TerraCycle works with a variety of partners to make free recycling solutions available worldwide, so get in contact with them if interested.

Recycling Styrofoam
Foam peanuts are super easy to recycle by just bringing them to any UPS store and they will reuse them. There’s even a Peanut Hotline at 800-828-2214 to find the nearest postal store that will take your packing foam.

Hope you enjoyed our holiday recycling tips, and remember to check the percent of recycled content when you purchase gifts and buy recycled!

For more recycling tips, go to our Project Ideas. Use our custom search bar to find more articles on anything you can think of that you want to recycle.

Links to products featured on RecycleScene are affiliate links. We try and only feature products that close the recycling loop. Make a purchase of recommended products on our site, and we get a small percentage of affiliate commission to maintain our site. Read more in the Terms of Use & Disclosure link in footer. Thanks!

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