Clearing Up Holiday Recycling Confusion

With every holiday celebration comes cleanup. Check your local recycling provider’s list of accepted items (twice!), and use the following tips as you prepare for the season’s festivities and clean-up afterwards.

Recycling Bin “Do’s” and “Don’ts” – Holiday Edition:

  • String Lights: DO NOT include. Check with your local recycling coordinator for special string lights recycling programs.
  • Wrapping Paper: DO NOT include metallic, glittery, or foil-lined papers. DO include other wrapping papers by folding into flat sheets before recycling.
  • Ribbons & Bows: DO NOT include. They get tangled around recycling machinery and contaminate other materials.
  • Tissue Paper: DO NOT include. Save tissue paper in good condition to reuse next year.
  • Gift Bags: DO NOT include glittery, metallic, or foil-lined bags. Save gift bags in good condition to reuse next year.
  • Foam Packaging or Packing Peanuts: DO NOT include. These items need to be disposed of in your trash bin.
  • Plastic Shipping Envelopes: DO NOT include. Some plastic shipping envelopes can be recycled at Return-to-Retail drop-off programs.
  • Holiday Cards: DO NOT include cards with glittery, metallic, or foil elements. DO include all others.
  • Cardboard Boxes: DO recycle! Flatten boxes to save space and remove loose tape.

Recycle Right NY is an education campaign focused on supporting efforts to reduce contamination in household recycling programs across NYS. For more information about the campaign or on how to get involved visit the Recycle Right NY webpage or e-mail

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