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Not all holiday materials are recyclable

By Jenna Leslie [1]

BELLEVILLE – With Christmas season at full force, there are some things that people should keep in mind when recycling their holiday waste.

Most wrapping paper is recyclable in the Quinte region, provided that it is actually made of paper, according to Rachel Revoy of Quinte Waste Solutions [2]. Foil wrapping papers, however, are not recyclable. These should be reused or thrown out.

One of the biggest problem during the holidays is people leaving ribbons and bows on their wrapping paper, Revoy said. These decorations are not recyclable and should be thrown away.

“At our material recovery facility … we have people that sort everything by hand. It’s not machines separating things – it’s people hand-sorting things into different compartments. So it does take time to remove those items and put them in the garbage,” she said.

Revoy suggests reusing these decorations year after year or throwing them in the garbage if they cannot be salvaged.

When it comes to plastics, only those bearing the numbers one, two, four, five and six are accepted. Much of the packaging that comes with toys is not recyclable.

Plastic wrapping paper is also generally not accepted. However, there are some types that can be. As a rule of thumb, plastic wrappings that can be stretched or torn can be recycled like plastic bags. Any plastic wrapping that is stiff and crinkly is not recyclable.

“A lot of that plastic isn’t a very high quality, and essentially it needs to be a high enough quality that manufacturers and factories want to reproduce it,” Revoy said.

To cut down on unneeded holiday waste, Revoy encourages people to use their own dishes instead of plastic or paper plates. However, paper plates can be composted in the green bin as long as they aren’t covered in a wax film.

Liquor bottles or cans should be returned to the Beer Store as that is the easiest, most efficient way to recycle them, according to Revoy.

Quinte Waste Solutions asks residents to fold and bundle cardboard and tie it together or tape it. This saves space in blue bins and makes it easier for pickup, according to Revoy.

At this time of year, a lot of clementine boxes show up in the recycling, she said. But wooden boxes are not recyclable and should be reused or thrown away.

Waste from candy is also a big issue at Christmastime. The wrappers that candy comes in is not recyclable.

“I usually recommend that people focus on baking together and eating baked goods,” Revoy said, “because there’s a lot less waste with that.”