Can gift wrap be recycled?

Tips from Waste Management as holiday waste piles up.
Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 4:47 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Over the holidays, most people have more trash than usual, or is it recycling?

Waste Management in Reno says they see a 25% increase in volume as trucks push more unwanted items into their facility.

“When people are shopping, when they are celebrating with their families they’re sending us their recyclables,” said Mickey Eckman, the Material Recovery Facility Manager.

Eckman has worked at Waste Management for 15 years and every holiday season, she sees things that just shouldn’t be in a recycling bin.

“We start seeing Christmas lights, Christmas ribbons from packaging,” Eckman said.

“We see Christmas trees, baby diapers, batteries.”

Eckman says to watch out for gift wrap and ribbons that look too exciting. Usually they are shiny or glittery.

“It needs to be like the plain kind of unexciting gift wrap,” she explained.

Otherwise, it should be placed in the trash.

Eckman says while there is increased contamination over the holidays, most people who recycle have good intentions.

“People who do what we call wish-cycling, so they wish it was recyclable, so they put it in the bin and they send it to us and unfortunately, that’s a pretty hard thing for us to deal with,” Eckman said.

Christmas trees, while they should not go in the recycling bin, can still be recycled.

Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful is collecting trees at locations around Washoe County starting on December 26th.

However, trees can also be thrown away alongside a trash bin as well.

“Make sure that you put it in there loosely or you do cut it, bag, box or bundle it and put it next to the container with a sticker,” said Kendra Kostelecky, a spokesperson for Waste Management.

Every residential account also has the chance to dump trash at Waste Management locations four times each year.