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Recycling Advice From Elmhurst's Waste Hauler Will Keep You on Santa's 'Nice' List

When the family emerges from under a pile of paper and boxes, this handy guide from Allied Waste will help you clean up the mess.

After weeks of shopping, decorating and wrapping presents, the big day is finally here. The kids tip-toe down the stairs to see what surprises Santa has brought for them.

The gift unwrapping frenzy begins and in an instant, your beautiful masterpiece called Christmas Day turns into a room filled with piles and piles of crumpled wrapping paper, torn tissue paper and shredded boxes. While dad tries desperately to remove the parent-proof plastic ties on this year’s hottest toy, Jinxy the cat is meowing in frustration as he tries to break free from the tinsel trap and bubble wrap. The kids have run off to play with their new toys and, with a bow stuck to your forehead, you must now decide what to recycle or throw in the trash.

To help you decide what you can put in your residential recycling cart, Republic Services, the nation’s second largest waste and recycling company, created its own “Naughty and Nice” list of holiday materials that may be recycled by your local recycling hauler—keeping you on Santa’s “Nice” list. Regardless of which list an item falls on, Santa suggests that you consider reusing it first.

Always Nice

  • Boxes: gift, shoe and shipping style

  • Wrapping paper: plain or sparkly

  • Tissue paper

  • Holiday cards and envelopes, without embellishments

  • Paper gift bags

Always Naughty

  • Bubble wrap
  • Ribbons and bows
  • Gift bags: laminated, coated or dyed
  • Cellophane
  • Packing peanuts—polystyrene foam
  • Anything on the Christmas tree
  • Your Aunt Edna’s fruit cake

On Santa's Watch List

Some items that are recyclable individually are not recyclable when combined with other recyclable materials. Recycling companies need materials in the purest form possible; any cross contamination of material (metal and paper together, paper and plastic) make it difficult and more expensive to recycle.

For example, toy containers made of heavy cardboard that surround a plastic container are not recyclable unless the cardboard is separated from the plastic. That means the plastic window on the box of your favorite doll or action figure.

Sticky gift tags are not recyclable by themselves, but are acceptable if they are on an envelope or wrapping paper.

While unadorned Christmas trees are recyclable, they cannot be placed in residential recycling carts. Customers should always check with their local waste service provider for collection times and pick-up instructions.

For more information, call Allied Waste customer service at (708) 345-7050.

Source: Allied Waste

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