Recycling for the holidays: don’t pitch the wrapping paper!


The holidays mean big gatherings, big meals – and big piles of discarded paper, shopping bags and boxes. The EPA estimates that household garbage increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. That makes the holidays a great time to utilize recycling opportunities in Asheville and fill up those Big Blue bins when cleaning up after the party or once the presents have all been opened.

Asheville residents have stepped up their recycling game, especially since the introduction of the Big Blue recycling carts and the launch of the single stream recycling program. This year, residential recycling between July and October increased 69.64 percent over the same time period in 2011, diverting 1,056.72 tons of waste from the landfill.

Curbside Management has provided a great list of things that can be recycled during the holidays:

Wrapping paper (except for the foil kind)
Cardboard boxes (don’t worry about all the tape)
Dress boxes
Christmas cards (even the glittery ones!)
Newspapers and inserts
Junk mail
Paper shopping bags
Broth cartons and wine boxes
Eggnog cartons
2 liter soft drink bottles
Cracker, cereal and other food boxes
Almost every grocery container – cans, jugs, bottles, jars (but not black microwave trays)

Here’s the short list of things that can’t go in the recycling:

Tissue paper
Used paper plates and cups
Napkins or paper towels

And don’t forget about the Christmas trees – they can be recycled too! Trees will be collected curbside according to the routine brush collection schedule, or they can dropped off at the Buncombe County Landfill or at private yard waste facilities. Please remove all lights, ornaments, tinsel and stands. Have an artificial Christmas tree? You’ll need to call (828) 251-1122 to set up collection.

Reducing Asheville’s carbon footprint is one of Asheville City Council’s strategic goals. The Zero Waste AVL initiative page on the City of Asheville website lists a lot of great information for recycling at the holidays and all year round. Check it out here.

And enjoy the holidays!