Recycling Christmas takes some thought

Christmas recycling problems

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Now that Christmas is passed, time to toss the boxes, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons that come with the holiday.

And a good portion of America would like to recycle as much as possible. But what’s recyclable and what’s not?

Start with wrapping paper. A good rule of thumb to remember whether the wrap is recyclable or not is - “If it’s all paper,” said Cristine Polsgrove, the Director of Tucson’s Environmental Services. “As long as it’s not coated with any kind of wax or metal or glitter or anything else.” The paper can be recycled.

That shiny paper looks good under the tree but when a worker sees it at the recycling center, it has to be pulled out and tossed it in the trash. It’s labor intensive. So best bet is to skip recycling and throw it away.

Tissue paper is not recyclable, “Because it’s too thin” Polsgrove said. There are no wood fibers left so it’s not good material for recycling.

Bows and ribbons dress up a package, but they should never be tossed in a recycling bin.

“Ribbons are really a problem at the recycling facility because they wind around the machinery,” Polsgrove said.

The machines have to be stopped to pull out the ribbons and again that’s labor intensive.

Trees are easy but still all the tinsel, decorations and lights need to be removed before it can be recycled.

Americans toss more during the holiday season than any other time of the year, 25 percent more during Christmas time. It’s not just that the recycling industry is overwhelmed by the amount of trash but when recycling, it’s the type of material too.

Even long time recycle enthusiasts, like Tom Murr, it’s a bit overwhelming.

“I’m going to say the paper with foil backing is probably no,” he said. “But then I’m probably wrong.”

No, he’s right but still unsure.

For a list of the do’s and don’ts, visit the City of Tucson website.

However, there’s nothing about the do’s and don’ts for Christmas recyclables.

“I can fix that,” Polsgrove said.

Likely, next year.

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