How you can recycle your holiday trash


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — By now, chances are the Christmas wrapping has been put away and your trash is full — but there’s plenty that can be recycled.

77-year-old Richard Ruhland of Round Mountain was tossing his recycling into bins at the City of Fayetteville Recycling Drop Off the week before Christmas.

“Some people don’t picture themselves as being a cog in this big wheel,” Ruhland said. “They just think of the big wheel. You know, without that one cog that wouldn’t work.”

Ruhland makes a lot of trips during the holidays.

“We live rurally and really have very little kinfolk close,” he said. “So we received presents from great distances. They’re always coming in cardboard boxes.”

Brian Pugh, the Waste Reduction Coordinator for the City of Fayetteville, is all for that mindset.

“We want that cardboard because it’s very valuable,” he said. “We can keep that out of the landfill and easily sell it.”

What about the gifts that go under the tree — with all the wrapping paper?

“Paper is a challenge,” Pugh said. “It has a lot of ribbons, a lot of tape, a lot of glitter, things that aren’t necessarily recyclable as paper.”

Here’s what to do: make sure that if you’re recycling paper, it’s just the paper — without the ribbons and tape. Otherwise, the city can’t recycle it.

It can be hard to find that clean paper after opening all the gifts, though, so consider getting creative with ‘no-wrap’ options like hiding gifts somewhere in the house and leaving clues for how to find them.

If you do use gift wrap, look for paper with a high percentage of post-consumer recycled content.

“There are ways to do it other than making a lot of waste a lot of trash, Pugh said. “We have a lot of options quite honestly for that material to be recycled.”

Pugh and Ruhland say they hope everyone is in the recycling mindset this Christmas.

“Make that new year’s resolution to do something,” Pugh said. “Divert a little more material from the waste stream and food waste composting.”

“You’ve got to start someplace,” Ruhland said. “Everything starts at the bottom. You got one trash bag you need to throw away, it’s important that you do it.”

Here’s a collection of things to keep in mind while figuring out what to do with all your holiday trash.

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