Blog Post

Don’t Get Your Tinsel – or Our Recycling Center – in a Tangle

“You can tell a lot about a person by the way he or she handles three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.” – Maya Angelou

We promise not to judge if you discard your tangled Christmas lights – if you promise not to put them in your recycling container. 

Tangled Christmas lights may put a damper on your holiday decorating. But placed in your recycling cart, these tangled masses wreak havoc on our recycling facilities.

Christmas lights along with items like garden hoses, wires and extension cords get tangled around the thousands of spinning discs used to separate different types of recycling. And in a matter of seconds, these tanglers can bring our million dollar recycling facilities to a standstill. 

Check with your local home improvement store for possible "take back" programs for old Christmas lights.

And stay on Santa’s nice list by following some simple guidelines to holiday recycling: 

The Nice List: Recycle These Items

  • Wrapping paper (not foil)
  • Gift boxes
  • Gift bags (paper, not foil)
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Newspapers and sales ads
  • Cards & envelopes
  • Clean pizza boxes
  • Wrapping paper rolls (cardboard)
  • Junk mail 
  • Plastic bottles & jugs
  • Aluminum beverage cans
  • Steel food and drink cans
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Cartons and juice boxes

The Naughty List: Don’t Put These in Your Recycling

  • Christmas lights
  • Extension cords
  • Plastic bags
  • Ribbons, bows and tinsel
  • Tissue paper
  • Foil wrapping paper
  • Plastic packaging 
  • Plastic toys
  • Whipped topping and butter tubs
  • Aluminum pie pans and roasting pans
  • VHS tapes (when you upgrade to DVD and Blu-Ray)
  • Packing peanuts and bubble wrap
  • Ceramics 

About the author: Molly Yeager is the communications supervisor or Rumpke Waste & Recycling


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