The most common holiday recycling mistakes

Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 4:25 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - With the pandemic driving the majority of holiday shopping transactions to take place online, the influx of waste from packages is reaching new heights as cardboard boxes and packing materials stack up in homes. This, combined with the extra 1,000 pounds of trash expected to be generated per household from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, makes proper recycling even more imperative.

With parties, decorations and gift giving, Americans generate 25% more waste over the holidays. But much of what is thrown away during and after the festivities can be recycled or repurposed.

Tania Ragland, sustainability ambassador for Republic Services, an industry leader in U.S. recycling and non-hazardous solid waste disposal, joined NewsChannel 7 at 4 on Tuesday to explain what can and cannot be recycled and provided simple tips for consumers on how to be eco-friendly during the holidays.


  • Shipping Materials: Only cardboard and paper can go into your curbside recycling. Bubble wrap, air pillows and foam should be reused or thrown away.
  • Regifting: Reuse gift bags, tissue, bows, etc.– it’s smart for the environment and for your wallet! Plain wrapping paper should be recycled, but anything with glitter, foil or lamination belongs in the garbage.
  • Entertaining: Avoid single-use plastic utensils, plates and bags – none are recyclable. Recycle those metal food and beverage cans, paper boxes, hard plastic jugs and containers.

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