Recycling over the holidays: dos and don’ts

Home for the Holidays

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Are Christmas lights recyclable? What about garland and tinsel?

Putting the wrong item in the recycling bin could land you on Santa’s naughty list.

“I call it wish cycling where people are well-intentioned, they want to recycle as much as they can to help the environment and that’s great, but they really need to focus on the items we can successfully recover,” said Travis Barnes, a recycling coordinator for Hillsborough County.

Trash piling up over the holidays is a big issue for waste management.

“There’s a lot of consumption going on with all of the typical holiday gatherings, the family parties and all the gift giving and things like that, so we see quite a bit of volume increase throughout November, December, January,” Barnes added.

Barnes wants families to pay attention to what they are tossing in the recycling bin.

“If they’re putting something in there thinking we can recover it, and we can’t, it’s just as bad as putting garbage in the system it increases our costs and can pose a hazard to our staff at the facility.”

You should not recycle:

  • Christmas lights
  • Garland & tinsel
  • Foil Wrapping paper
  • Ribbons & bows
  • Bubble wrap
  • Plastic air pillows
  • Styrofoam
  • Plastic utensils
  • Paper & plastic plates
  • Batteries
  • Plastic bags

Do recycle:

  • Wrapping paper (paper only)
  • Cardboard Boxes
  • Paper boxes
  • Paper cards & envelopes
  • Catalogs
  • Plastic bottles and containers
  • Aluminum, tin, & steel cans

Barnes says when in doubt, leave it out. He also recommends checking with your recycling pickup provider, since each department has specific guidelines.

Hillsborough County has canceled its trash and recycle collection times on Dec. 25. The City of Tampa’s Dec. 25 trash collection was delayed until Dec. 26.


Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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