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WUWM's Susan Bence reports on Wisconsin environmental issues.

Holiday Edition: Recycling Do's & Don'ts In Milwaukee

Is wrapping paper recyclable? How about those lights on the Christmas tree? We answer your questions about recycling during the holidays.

The holiday season is in full swing. In today’s world, that means you may have lots of wrapped packages, delivery boxes/bags, and tissue paper galore. But where does it all go once the festivities are over?

Don't worry. We're here to help you know what's recyclable or not. With the help of Samantha Longshore, who manages the resources recovery for the city of Milwaukee, we answer questions you sent us about recycling during the holidays.

READ: Recycling Do's & Don'ts In The Milwaukee Area

One important note: Recycling isn’t universal. So, it’s always good to check with your own municipality to see if it offers special instructions on how to get rid of holiday waste.

Curbside Recycling In Milwaukee — Holiday Edition

Tissue paper
Recyclable: No.

While you can't recycle tissue paper, you can reuse it. So, fold it up and save it for another gift-giving time.

Wrapping paper
Recyclable: Yes, but there are conditions.

Wrapping paper can go into your recycling bin, but there can't be any tape, ribbons, foil or other non-paper items on it. So, be extra observant before you toss wrapping paper into your recycling bin.

Credit Daniela Stärk / stock.adobe.com
You can put wrapping paper in your recycling bin, but there can't be any tape, ribbons, foil or other non-paper items on it.

Recyclable: Yes, but there are conditions.

Along the same lines as wrapping paper, cards can be recycled, but there can't be any tape, ribbons, foil or other non-paper items on it.

Cardboard boxes
Recyclable: Yes.

All those cardboard delivery boxes? Yeah, those can go into the recycling bin. If you want to end up on Santa's good list, make sure to break down the boxes and remove any contents, especially Styrofoam since it needs to go into the trash.

Credit dzianominator / stock.adobe.com
All those cardboard Amazon boxes you got? Yeah, those can go in your recycling bin. And just to be sure it all gets recycled, Longshore says you should remove any tape, labels and other non-paper materials. You can find more information about recycling Amazon packaging at: www.amazon.com/amsc

Bubble Wrap
Recyclable: No, not in your recycling bin. But there are ways to repurpose it.

Some grocery stores collect plastic bags, which is also where Bubble Wrap can be dropped. You can also put bubble-lined plastic bags, including Amazon's blue-and-white version, in the same bins. Roundy’s passes them to a company that manufactures plastic-based products.

Holiday lights
Recyclable: No.

While Christmas lights aren't acceptable in your curbside recycling, there are places you can ship them to be reused (and you even get coupons in return!):

Have an environmental question you'd like WUWM's Susan Bence to investigate? Submit below.


Lauren Sigfusson
Lauren became WUWM's digital producer in July 2018.
Susan is WUWM's environmental reporter.
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