Recycle or trash: What to do with holiday waste?


DES MOINES, Iowa — Opening presents together is a memorable part of the holiday season, but it can also create a lot of extra waste.

Metro Waste Authority wants central Iowans to be confident that whatever they are putting in their recycling these next few days is correct.

“There’s a lot of paper involved in the holidays: wrapping paper tissue paper, paper plates, paper napkins, and people get kind of confused because they connect paper with their recycling, but unfortunately, not all papers created the same, so it’s important that people are careful and intentional about what actually ends up in the recycling,” said Metro Waste Authority Community relations manager Cassie Riley.

Recycle: traditional cardboard boxes, gift and toy boxes, and most wrapping paper. But this excludes anything shiny or sparkly.

Trash: tissue paper, food containers, paper plates and napkins (because of the grease), anything sparkly (which includes ribbon, cards, and sparkly wrapping paper).

Cardboard boxes can be recycled in your Curb it! cart at home or at one of the many drop-off sites in the metro. 

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