Wrap up the holidays with recycling tips from askHRgreen.org

Published 5:32 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2022

A clean sweep will be in order once the holidays wind down and folks begin to pack away holiday decorations.

Likewise, Christmas trees and boxes will be collected in the City of Suffolk from Dec. 27 until Jan. 6. Note that anyone with bags of extra trash that cannot be contained within the trash can, they will not be removed. All trash must fit inside the container with the lid closed. Any extra trash can be disposed of at the SPSA Regional Landfill.

Before putting any items out with the trash, consider whether seasonal accouterments are reusable, recyclable or if they might come in handy for someone else.

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“Give thought to the items that you plan to dispose of,” said Rebekah Eastep, an askHRgreen.org team leader. “Thrift and creative reuse stores may love having your gently used or leftover ribbon, bows and crafting supplies. Or you can save these to use again next year, cutting down on both time and expense.”

Here’s the rundown on how to safely dispose of frequently used holiday items:

  • What’s recyclable: Cardboard shipping boxes, gift boxes, non-coated plain wrapping paper (without glitter or foil), paper greeting cards and envelopes and plain paper gift bags.

According to askHRgreen.com, string lights should never be placed in household recycling containers but can be recycled through these specialty recycling programs: HolidayLEDS and Christmas Light Source.

  • What’s not recyclable: Batteries, greeting cards with glitter or metallic accents, gift wrap and gift bags made of foil or plastic, holiday ornaments and décor, plastic product packaging, ribbons and bows and tissue paper

And when the needles start dropping from your natural Christmas tree, give it a second life through Hampton Roads city or county recycling programs. Some localities collect and chip the trees into mulch or compost that are used to beautify city and county public spaces.

Beginning on or around Dec. 26, residents can take advantage of this seasonal recycling program. Make sure the trees are free of ornaments, lights, tinsel and stands before placing curbside. In addition to traditional recycling, there are many creative ways to reuse natural Christmas trees and greenery in lawn and garden areas:

  • Place the tree in the yard with citrus peels and strung popcorn for the bird

Shred pine needles for use on pathways and trails

  • Drape boughs and branches over plant beds for winter protection
  • Use the tree as a habitat for wintering birds and woodland creature
  • Sink branches into ornamental ponds to feed the fish
  • Snip small branches to use as kindling in fire pits

For a list of natural Christmas tree recycling and disposal options by locality, visit the 2023 Christmas Tree Recycling and Disposal Guide at askHRgreen.org.

Editor’s note: Updated recycling information at 11:54 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 29 to reflect that the parking lot at 440 Market Street does not feature holiday recycling options.