Christmas recycling: what can and can’t go in the bin | Local&State


Neatly wrapped gifts, a twinkling tree and holiday lights are iconic symbols of December.

But when January arrives, they can make a home appear more like the back of the Grinch’s Christmas sleigh, with ribbons, tags, packages, boxes and bags scattered across the rooms and hallways.

When sorting through the morass of holiday debris, questions eventually arise about what to recycle and what to send to the landfill. Plenty of options exist, with some creativity and help from local recycling programs.

String lights, functioning or not, can be recycled free of charge until the end of January at Deschutes Recycling, located at 61050 SE 27th St. in Bend. Lights will also be accepted at the Negus (Redmond), Northwest (Sisters), Southwest (La Pine) and Alfalfa Transfer Stations.

Wrapping paper can be left in curbside recycling bins as long as it does not have metallic foil or glitter. If the paper contains metallic foil or glitter it goes in the trash. The same goes for gift tissue — it can be reused or placed in the recycling bin, but if the tissue contains glitter or has a metallic sheen it goes in the garbage.

The humble newspaper is always a great back up to wrapping paper. It’s easily recyclable, and kids get a kick out of tearing open a box wrapped with the Sunday funnies section.

Gift bags and ribbons can be reused or cut up and turned into art projects. Deschutes Recycling cannot accept these items, so excess bags or ribbons go into the garbage bin.

Rigid plastics, which are sometimes used in toy packaging, are also not accepted by Deschutes Recycling.

Bubble wrap and packaging peanuts can be reused for sending packages, but they are not accepted by Deschutes Recycling. Throw them in the trash if you need to get rid of them. The same goes for Styrofoam. It goes in the trash.

Christmas trees can go into curbside yard debris bins. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to fit the entire tree in the bin in one go, but you can chop it up and place it in the bin over several weeks. Remove all decorations and the stand before placing it in the bin. Trees can also be left at Deschutes Recycling for free until Jan. 31, as well as the transfer stations.

The Boy Scouts of America, or other nonprofit groups, can also take your tree. These groups may request a $5 to $10 donation for disposal. Scout pick-up drives are divided up by neighborhood in Bend and scheduled for Dec. 28-29 and Jan. 4-5. For pick up information contact the following numbers:

  • SW Bend, west of Third Street, south of Newport/Greenwood: 541-385-3977
  • NW Bend, west of Third Street, north of Newport/Greenwood: 541-385-2692
  • NE Bend, east of Third Street, north of Greenwood/ U.S. Highway 20: 541-385-2672
  • SE Bend, east of Third Street, south of Greenwood/U.S. Highway 20: 541-385-3942

When it comes to holiday meals, which often end with considerable food waste, consider composting. Most of the garbage collection services in Bend offer some form of composting service. This usually entails placing your food scraps in a yard debris barrel. Contact your collection service provider for specific instructions on what can be composted.

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