Things to know about recycling items during the holiday season

Christmas is just days away, and soon, people will be unwrapping the gifts under the tree.

The presents may be pretty, but they, unfortunately, create a lot of waste.

On Dec. 23, FOX 10 spoke with officials from Republic Services, who say waste goes up about 25% from Thanksgiving to new years. There are, however, several things people can do to help cut down on that waste.

1. Gift Wraps

People may think they are helping the environment by recycling gift wraps, but as it turns out, not all of it belongs in the recycling bin.

Bows and ribbons cannot be recycled, while plain wrapping paper can be recycled. In addition, anything metallic or glittered goes in the trash.

"It’s OK if it has a print on it, but none of the fancy stuff, so think the fancier it is, the less recyclable it is," said Republic Services Sustainability Ambassador Jeremy Walters.

Another thing with gift wraps is to reuse them year after year, especially bows and bags.

2. Don’t put recyclables in a plastic bag

For the items that can be recycled, don’t place them in a plastic bag before putting it in the bin, as that can clog the processor.

"Flexible plastics, whether it’s the bag itself, cellophane, bubble wrap, the air-filled pillow packs that are in all of our eCommerce packages, that stuff has the tendency to wrap and tangle around the sorting equipment at the sorting center," said Walters. "Throw the good recyclables in the bin. Keep them nice and loose. Don’t bag them."

3. Rinse containers clean

For plastic containers, it’s more important during the holidays to make sure they are rinsed clean.

"The reason we ask you to do that is paper and cardboard is very fragile. Get soiled with food or liquid, we have to throw it away. Especially during the holidays, a lot of paper cardboard gets recycled into new products."

In addition, holiday lights do not belong in the bin.

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