Each year, they’re bombarded with what’s called “wish-cycling” – people attempting to recycle wrapping paper and other things that, instead, need to go in the trash or compost.
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“People really want to do the right thing and so sometimes that’s the hardest part of my job – to tell people ‘love your enthusiasm! But maybe tone it back a little bit,'” said Hennepin County Environmental Educator Alisa Reckinger.
She says wrapping paper with any glitter cannot be recycled as it’s mixed with plastic and aluminum and the machines can’t separate or sort it.
But there are types of wrapping paper that the county can handle.
“Stuff which is plain but still can look really nice is definitely recyclable,” she said. “The plainer your paper gets, the more recyclable.”
Tissue paper can sometimes become the trickiest product to determine. It can’t be recycled, but Reckinger says as long as there aren’t any glitter or patterns on it, it can likely go in the compost bin.
“The fibers are really short so it just won’t really get recycled but if you do have organics recycling, like we do here in Minneapolis, they say that you can put it in there. Otherwise, it’s trash but I like to reuse mine year-to-year,” she said.
Reckinger is also encouraging households to stop trying to send old Christmas lights away in the recycling bin.
They get tangled up in the machines and back up the whole process.
There are, however, special drop-off sites throughout the state where you can bring old Christmas lights.
To find a drop-off near you, click here.