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Holiday recycling do’s and don’ts


With extra waste around the holidays, people are quick to throw any paper or plastic into recycling bins. But officials say not everything is recyclable.

The bins at the Lucas County Residential Recycling Drop-Off Center in Maumee are already filling up as people start to get rid of all their holiday trash.

“I’m just trying to do the right thing, you know, keep the cardboard out of the landfills,” resident John Shugar said at the drop-off center.

Waste around the holidays always skyrockets.

“After Christmas, this time of year, it’s very common to see a lot of people doing recycling,” said Jim Shaw, a Lucas County sanitary engineer.

Cardboard in the county recycling bins as of Thursday morning is up more than double what is usually collected. Plastics, bottles and cans have increased too.

“It’s up 35% on bottles and cans for the most part. And then like I said, on cardboard and paper it’s triple.”

But just because it’s paper or plastic doesn’t mean it can go in a county or curbside bin.

“As far as the holidays go, it gets a little bit trickier,” said Adam Cassi, executive director of Keep Toledo / Lucas County Beautiful Inc. “All of those gift bags are typically not recyclable. Tissue paper, not recyclable.”

Plain wrapping paper should always be recycled, but it’s better to toss any foil or glitter wrapping paper into the trash. The same goes for decorations.

“Bows and ribbons, definitely don’t recycle. Make sure you pull all of those out because they do tangle up our machinery at the recycling facility. So really it should just be plain paper, as plain as possible, being thrown into our containers.

Plastic bags and covers should never see the inside of a curb or county bin.

“Take them back to your grocery store. Your Kroger, your Meijer, any of them, Churchills, has a place in the front for plastic wrap. And so that’s plastic bags, but also at this time of year a lot of that plastic that’s inside covering your toys and new things.

Online shoppers should make sure to actually break down the boxes that all of their new toys were delivered in.

“We really like to see people break down their boxes, be able to get more in there because otherwise we’re spending about two hours at each site just trying to get through the boxes and clean them up,” Shaw said.

Each bin should have a list reminding consumers of what’s good to go in and what should be kept out.


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