December 6 – The holiday season brings multitudes of boxes, wrapping paper, gift bags, and more, and the Macon County Environmental Management Department (MCEMD) wants to make sure you recycle only what can be reused.
Online shopping is expected to climb this year, which means more cardboard boxes showing up at your door. Cardboard is recyclable and so is most wrapping paper, but MCEMD Director Debra Garrett says not everyone is aware what shouldn’t be included in the recycling bin.
“Contamination is always a concern,” Garrett says. “It’s just with the holidays the word doesn’t often get out there in terms of the proper materials to recycle when it comes to Christmas wrapping and so forth.”
Bows, ribbons, garland, and Styrofoam do not belong in the recycling bin. Gift bags with a plastic coating and foil wrapping paper also do not belong. Contamination can lead to processing issues and oftentimes cost the manufacturer more money.
“Ribbons and bows get tangled up in the processing equipment, but paper, when it’s wrapped in the plastic or foil coating, will go into the paper stream but when it gets to the manufacturer, it’s contaminated and costs them more money,” Garrett says. “Each commodity goes to the particular manufacturer and when there’s contamination, it just drives up the overall cost.”
Midwest Fiber expects to see a 25 percent increase in recycling materials during December and January. They are also encouraging careful recycling this holiday season.
Christmas lights shouldn’t be included in your recycling bins, either. You can drop off unwanted lights at the MCEM Office during regular business hours until January 20, 2017.