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Recycling Reminders for Holiday Waste

The holidays generate 25 percent more waste than other times of the year, much of which can be recycled. (jackietrains/morguefile)
The holidays generate 25 percent more waste than other times of the year, much of which can be recycled. (jackietrains/morguefile)
December 23, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa - It's the most wonderful time of the year, but according to Trish Radke, program coordinator of the Metro Waste Authority, it's also the most wasteful.

"We actually produce 25 percent more waste during the holidays than any other time of the year," she says. "Reducing your impact can actually be really easy if you just stick to the basics of what you know about recycling."

She says the biggest problem is "wishful recycling," where people choose and buy products with packaging they hope is recyclable, but it isn't, such as some types of plastic.

Radke says the rules for what can be included in your normal recycling bin are the same now as at any time of year.

"Some common holiday items that you can recycle in your curbside recycling cart include non-metallic wrapping paper and cards, all those cardboard boxes that you're wrapping things in and that all your packages come in," she says. "You can definitely break those down, recycle those in your cart."

She says even metal cookie and popcorn tins can be included with your normal recyclables, but disposable cups and plates cannot.

When it comes to recycling, Radke says Christmas lights are no different than other electronics.

"Electronics don't go in your curbside recycling cart," she says. "But there are a lot of outlets, there's a lot of places that take cell phones, there's a lot of charities - that accept those, and they can get donations for those."

And in case one of your New Year's resolutions is to become a better recycler, a full recycling guide is online at

Jeff Stein, Public News Service - IA