Recycling post-holidays: Regift, reuse, recycle

The holidays are over, and after the flurry of present-opening is complete and the last drop of spiked eggnog has disappeared with auld lang syne, many a household is left with a pile of wrapping paper, dead batteries, bum string lights, and broken toys.

Regift what you can but most of it needs to go. Tempting as it may be, the trash isn’t necessarily the final answer.

Pour one last eggnog and start recycling – the folks at the Chittenden Solid Waste District has some handy tips for safe and proper disposal of all things holiday related. You’ll be surprised at the number of things you can recycle.

Blue bin it:
• String lights, a notorious source of holiday frustration, are easy to dispose of. With any screw-in bulbs removed, the light strings themselves can be recycled. No need to remove smaller fixed bulbs.
• Wrapping paper can be recycled, as long as there’s no foil or plastic involved. If you’re unsure, simply rip the corner of a piece of the paper, and if the inside has any indication of plastic or foil inside, throw it in the trash. Recycle the rest.
• Cardboard that’s clean and dry can go in the recycle bin or taken to a drop-off center. Some haulers won’t take pieces larger than two-feet by two-feet so check with your and cut if necessary. Drop-off centers accept cardboard up to four feet on any side.
Take to a drop-off center:
• Christmas trees, as long as all tinsel and other decorative items are removed, can be recycled at any waste district drop-off center or the McNeil Wood & Yard Waste depot in Burlington.
• Batteries can be recycled at any district drop-off center or other battery collection site which are listed at
• Televisions and monitors can be recycled for free at waste district drop-off centers or at the Environmental Depot in South Burlington.
Reuse or throw in the trash:
• Latkes and other fried holiday treats are delicious, but oil and fat stuck in your kitchen drain is decidedly less appealing. Leftover oil should be reused, compost, or thrown in the trash rather than poured down the sink.
• Reuse or throw away ribbons and bows.
• Packing peanuts, Styrofoam, and most other packaging materials cannot be recycled. Reuse them, or find one of the many local businesses that accept and reuse packing materials.
• If a plastic toy breaks or falls apart, it might hurt your pride or your pocketbook, but don’t recycle it. Plastic recycling applies to single-use items, not toys, small appliances, or plastic bins.

For more information, visit the waste district website:

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