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December 20, 2022

Holiday Recycling

With the holiday season in full swing, you may be wondering what to do with holiday-related waste. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day alone, Americans generate an additional 1 million tons of waste every week. The Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority (Authority) is here to help reduce this amount of waste by offering tips on how to keep it out of the landfill!

Wrapping Paper – Wrapping paper is only accepted for recycling for the two weeks after Christmas. Recycling mills anticipate that there is going to be a large amount of wrapping paper in the waste stream during this time of year, and accept it for recycling so it is not all landfilled. Please place wrapping paper loosely in your bin and do not place it in a plastic bag. Foil wrapping paper, metallic wrapping paper, tissue paper, ribbons and bows are not accepted for recycling and should go in the garbage if they cannot be reused.

Gift Bags – Gift bags are usually made up of various materials including ribbons, glitter and foil. If you are not able to reuse these kinds of gift bags, then they are a garbage item. Plain paper gift bags like the paper bags you get at the grocery store can be placed in your recycling bin. Greeting cards and envelopes are accepted for recycling as well.

Decorations – Always try to reuse or donate decorations before throwing them away! Holiday lights cannot be placed in your recycling bin. Instead, they can either be donated, be brought to the Authority’s EcoDrops for proper recycling, or be thrown away in the garbage. Real and artificial wreaths cannot be recycled and go in the garbage as well.

Christmas Trees – Live Christmas trees can be composted! They can be brought to the Authority’s Utica EcoDrop, or you can check with your local municipality to see if/when they will be collecting trees from the curb. Artificial trees are garbage if they cannot be reused.

“The Authority is here to help try to cut down on the amount of waste that is generated during the holidays,” said Authority Recycling Coordinator Eileen Brinck. “Don’t be afraid to reach out if there is something you are unsure of. Together we can make the holiday season greener!”

All Authority facilities will be open during regular business hours from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day.

If you are not sure how to properly recycle or dispose of an item, the Authority encourages residents to visit its easy-to-use tool at to search hundreds of different items and learn all the answers. When non-acceptable items are placed in the recycling bin, they interfere with the recycling of acceptable items. 

For more information on recycling and waste disposal, please contact Authority Recycling Coordinator Eileen Brinck at or 315-733-1224. You may also ask questions and find more information on the Authority’s Facebook page (Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority).