1. I live in an apartment. How do I recycle my Christmas tree?
For anyone who does not have yard debris collection at home, here are two options for recycling your tree.
Donate it. Many nonprofit organizations offer pickup services or drop-off locations where you can take Christmas trees and wreaths to be recycled for a small fee. Providing this service helps communities properly dispose of trees while raising money for worthwhile causes.
Take it to a recycling center. Search Metro's online database for one close to you.
With either option, remove everything that wasn’t part of the original tree. You may also be able to recycle your wreath. Or even your flocked tree. Check first.
2. The string lights we’ve been using for decades are finally past their prime. Are they recyclable?
Yes. But not in your home bin. String lights can be recycled for the copper inside them. Many recycling centers, including Metro’s, will take them free of charge. Remove large bulbs. Small ones can stay on.
Holiday recycling: String lights
3. Plastic, plastic, plastic. Please tell me I can recycle it.
Many plastics cannot go in your home bin, so they’re garbage if that’s where your options end. But many types can be recycled at recycling centers. This includes rigid plastic, often called blister pack, that everything from action figures to scissors come in – you know, that stuff that’s so sealed up you thought you might need a blow torch to open it? Pro tip: Ignore the arrows and numbers.
Holiday recycling: Plastic packaging
You also want to keep stretchy plastic, such as plastic bags, out of your home recycling bin. This stuff wreaks havoc on the conveyer belts at recycling facilities, causing costly slow-downs. But you can recycle these at many recycling centers, and even at some grocery stores.
4. And Styrofoam? Can I put that in my home recycling bin?
At home, block Styrofoam is garbage. Right now there are only a couple of places in the greater Portland region that will take it for recycling. There just isn’t a dependable market for it right now. One work-around is to see if a mailing business or UPS store might take it, but call first. They might take packing peanuts too. Those are also garbage.
Holiday recycling: Styrofoam and packing peanuts
5. What about batteries?
There are many different types of batteries, and each has different recycling options, some with costs attached. Take household batteries like those AAs and Ds to a hazardous waste facility.
Read up on other battery disposal options
More holiday recycling questions? Ask Metro with a call or a click.