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The do’s and don’ts of C.O. Christmas recycling


Christmas is a time for giving, but afterward, it’s also a time for getting rid of. From boxes to bags and tissue paper to Christmas lights, all that stuff has to go somewhere.

So if your recycle bin is piled high with cardboard boxes and wrapping paper, you’re not alone.

According to Susan Baker, the marketing manager for Bend Garbage & Recycling, the week after Christmas can be pretty busy.

“Always a lot of extra trash out there from all of the family gatherings and a lot of the recyclables, mainly probably a lot of boxes, and so people can put those in the blue recycle cart,” Baker said Wednesday.

Christmas tends to produce lots of waste, along with all that laughter and good cheer.

And it’s important to know what can and what cannot go in the recycle bin.

Timm Schimke, director of the Deschutes County Solid Waste Department ,said that during this time of year, his department sees lots of what he calls “wishful recycling,”

“We try to get the word out that the shiny tin foil-like wrapping — please, no, but we’ll see it. People just don’t make that distinction,” Schimke said.

Also not for the recycling bin are gift boxes, ribbon, plastic wrap and tissue paper.

An increase in cooking and related waste this time of year can even cause confusion, said Ani Kasch, the program coordinator for the ReThink Waste project.

“Around the holidays, we’re increasing food consumption, and a lot of food is purchased in clamshell containers — and those aren’t recyclable either, so those have to go in the trash,” Kasch said.

Old or broken Christmas lights do have a place to go this year.

“We’re starting also to recycle Christmas tree lights, or the lights on your house,” Schimke said. “So those can all come in the scrap metal at no charge. So I’m sure we’ll be busy there as well.” (They have to be recycled at the facility, not at curbside.)

And there are other ways you can move in the direction of a more sustainable holiday.

“Reusing wrapping paper from previous years, rethinking the way you use wrapping paper — or maybe not giving stuff at all. A great option is to share experiences instead of stuff,” Kasch said.

The Boy Scouts will be collecting Christmas trees and a donation over the next two weekends. Or you can cut your tree up and put it in your yard debris bin, if you have one.

Bend Garbage & Recycling, Cascade Disposal and High Country disposal also want customers to know they are on a modified schedule this week and next because of the holidays, so pickup services will happen one day later than usual.

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