What should you be recycling this holiday?

Recorder Staff
Published: 12/25/2017 7:10:49 PM

When the living room floor is left covered in torn wrapping paper, bows, holiday cards, gift bags and boxes in the hustle and bustle of Christmas morning, deciphering what is and isn’t recyclable can seem like a difficult task.

During the holiday season, the average American family throws away at least 25 percent more trash than they do during the rest of the year, a large portion of which could be reused, recycled or composted, according to a Franklin County Solid Waste Management District press release.

The Waste Management District wants to clear up the confusion with its holiday recycling guidelines. Decreasing amounts of holiday trash is not only environmentally friendly, the release states, but also allows residents to save money on their “Pay as You Throw” town trash stickers or bags.


Wrapping paper and tissue paper with or without tape, but only kinds that don’t contain foil, metallic inks or glitter

Paper gift bags and shopping bags, including any type of handle

Greeting cards (except kinds with foil, wire or glitter) and envelopes, with or without plastic windows



Corrugated cardboard boxes and paperboard gift boxes


Ribbons or bows

Tinsel, Christmas tree netting or holiday lights

Bubble wrap, packing peanuts, Styrofoam, plastic bags or plastic “blister pack” packaging that requires scissors to open



While holiday lights shouldn’t be included in household recycling because they can get wrapped in the sorting equipment at the recycling facility, the release states holiday light strings are accepted for recycling at some scrap metal yards like wTe Corporation at 75 Southern Ave. in Greenfield.

Some Home Depot and Lowe’s branches also offer free holiday light recycling, or residents can receive 15 percent off a purchase of energy efficient holiday lights at HolidayLEDs.com by mailing in their old lights for recycling.

Clean, dry packing materials such as peanuts, bubble wrap, inflatable “air pillow” packaging and Styrofoam sheets are accepted for reuse free of charge at The UPS Store, located at 21 Mohawk Trail in Greenfield.

With careful unwrapping, wrapping paper, gift boxes, ribbons, bows and gift bags can be saved and used in future years.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, battery purchases and usage increases by 40 percent during the holiday season. All 17 town transfer stations in the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District accept rechargeable, button and lithium batteries for free, year-round for recycling, the release states.

When it comes to food waste, seven of the local transfer stations — Greenfield, Leverett, New Salem, Northfield, Orange, Wendell and Whately — offer composting. The release states they accept all types of food waste, including meat, bones, cheese and paper waste such as Chinet paper plates, paper to-go containers, napkins and paper towels.

For more information, contact the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District by phone at 413-772-2438 or by email at info@franklincountywastedistrict.org. For a downloadable Recycle on the Holidays guide, visit: bit.ly/2D24rSX.

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906


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