Thursday, December 22, 2011

Naughty and nice recycling tips for the holiday season

Even if you’ve been a good recycler all year long, holiday decorations and gift wrap can leave some people wondering what goes in and what stays out of their blue cart.  To make sure your recycling doesn’t end up on Santa’s naughty list, The City offers this “naughty and nice” list of recyclable holiday materials.

Nice (acceptable in blue carts and community recycling depots)
  • Gift wrap (paper only)
  • Tissue paper
  • Cardboard boxes including gift boxes , shoe boxes and shipping boxes
  • Gift bags (remove the handles) 
  • Holiday cards/envelopes
  • Bubble wrap
Don’t forget to toss in all the regular recyclables including paper and cardboard, plastic jugs and food containers, metal food cans and foil, and glass jars.

Naughty (not acceptable in blue carts or community recycling depots)
  • Foil or metallic coated wrapping paper - consider reusing
  • Ribbon and bows - consider reusing
  • Styrofoam™ - put this in your garbage, even if it has the recycling symbol #6
  • Strings of old Christmas lights and bulbs
  • Christmas tree ornaments and tinsel - consider reusing or put in your garbage
  • Electronics - drop them off at an electronics recycling depot
  • Molded plastic packaging that toys and electronics come in cannot be recycled. Separate any cardboard for recycling; plastic packaging without a number goes into the garbage.
Residents are reminded to crumple their wrapping paper into balls and put all of the recyclables loose into the blue cart or community recycling depot, not bagged in a garbage bag.  The only items that should be bagged are shredded paper and plastic bags.

“Calgarians do a great job recycling; in fact approximately 90 per cent of the materials that are put in blue carts and community depots are acceptable.  It’s important that we keep it up,” says Paula Magdich, Program Development Leader.  She adds that recycling increases 11 per cent over the holiday season.

Options for excess recycling
To make some extra room in the blue cart, consider flattening cardboard boxes, or saving some recyclables for the next week’s collection.  Calgarians can also bring their recycling to a community recycling depot in their area.

Recycle your real Christmas tree
The City will be collecting real Christmas trees for mulching.  It’s easy, convenient and saves space in the landfill.  Remove the tinsel, decorations, garland, lights and tree stands and place it on the ground near your black cart collection spot on January 9 and leave it for pick-up, which will take place within two weeks.  You can also drop off your Christmas tree at one of eight temporary drop-off depots.  These depots will be open from Dec. 26, 2011 to January 22, 2012.
Recycling programs continue to be successful

Nearly three years after the Blue Cart program was rolled out, The City recycles nearly 70,000 tonnes of materials every year from blue carts and community recycling depots.  This is an increase of 70 per cent since 2009.  By recycling the right materials, we prevent injuries to workers and reduce the number of shutdowns on the recycling sorting lines and ensure valuable resources don’t enter the landfills.

For more clever tips on holiday recycling options visit or call 3-1-1.

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