San Francisco Department of the Environment

‘Tis the Season to Recycle!

Reuse and recycle as much as you can this holiday season. Find out how to get rid of or reuse common holiday items.


Compost

Candles - Put residual wax in the composting bin. Place the metal or plastic container in the recycling bin.

Christmas trees - real - Recology will pick up on your regular service day from  January 4–15, 2021. Place tree at the curb, next to the trash bin, the night before your scheduled collection day. If the tree is over six feet, please cut it in half. Be sure to remove all tinsel, decorations, plastic bags, stands, fake snow “flocking” and lights.

Corks (Natural) - Compost natural corks.

Food Scraps (Apple cores, banana peels, coffee grounds. etc) - Food scraps always go in the green compost bin.

 

Recycle

Corks (Plastic) - Recycle plastic corks and compost natural corks.

Cooking oil - Take to a drop-off location near you.

Plastic (bags, wrap) - Bundle clean, dry plastic inside one plastic bag. Newspaper bags, deflated bubble wraps and air pillows are okay. 

Styrofoam - Take to a drop-off location near you.


Reuse or Donate

Bows & ribbon - Reuse bows and ribbon as many times as you can. When they can no longer be reused, put in the black landfill bin.

Christmas trees- artificial - If the tree can be reused, donate to a local thrift store. If it cannot be reused, put it in your black landfill bin. If the tree is too big to go in your black landfill bin, hold on to it until you have several bulky items and schedule a Bulky Item Pickup (RecycleMyJunk).

Clothing - Clothing in good condition can be donated to those in need (drop off or pick-up). 

Garland: If not broken, reuse or donate to SCRAP or your local thrift store.

  • If made of natural materials (leaves, branches, etc) and broken, put it in the composting bin.
  • If made of paper (no heavy laminates or plastic coating) and broken, put in the recycling bin.
  • If made of mylar (shiny, metallic material) and broken, put in the black landfill bin.
  • If made of mixed material and broken, put in the black landfill bin.

Gift bags - Reuse paper gift bags as many times as you can, then put them in the recycling bin.

Linens  - Linens and old clothing, including shoes and rags can be taken to a textiles recycling center.

Ornaments

  • If ornaments are not broken, donate to SCRAP or your local thrift store.
  • If ornaments are broken and made of glass or mixed material, put them in the black bin.
  • If ornaments are broken and made of rigid plastic, put them in the recycling bin.

Padded envelopes

  • Reuse padded envelopes if you can.
  • Recycling options: If the entire envelope is paper, it can go directly into the recycling bin. If the padding is plastic, remove plastic wrap and bundle with other plastics inside one bag to place in recycling. Put the leftover paper in the recycling bin.

Wrapping paper (shiny) - Reuse or put in the recycling bin, but please try to avoid purchasing shiny wrapping paper as it can disrupt the recycling process.

Textiles: Textiles (clothes, shoes, linens) in good condition can be donated to those in need (drop off or pick-up).

Tissue paper - Reuse as much as you can, then compost it.

Toys

  • If not broken, take to a local thrift shop.
  • If the toy is broken and plastic and does not include electronics, put it in the recycling bin.
  • If the toy is broken and plastic and does have electronics, take to Green Citizen.
  • If the toy is broken and made of mixed materials and does not have electronics, put it in the black landfill bin.

Tinsel If not broken, take to SCRAP or your local thrift store. If broken, put in the black landfill bin.

Party supplies (paper or plastic party hats, etc.)

  • If not broken, reuse or donate to SCRAP or your local thrift store.
  • If all paper and broken, put in the recycling bin.
  • If all rigid plastic and broken, put in the recycling bin.
  • If mixed material that cannot be separated and broken, put in the black landfill bin.

Party supplies (noise makers)

  • If not broken, reuse or donate to SCRAP or your local thrift store.
  • If made of all rigid plastic and broken, put in the recycling bin.
  • If made of all paper and broken, put in the recycling bin.
  • If made of mixed material (paper and rigid plastic) and broken, separate and put in the recycling bin.
  • If made of mixed material that cannot be separated and broken, put in the black landfill bin.

Safe Disposal

Cooking oil - Take to a drop-off location near you.

 

 

Lights - non-working - Safely dispose of light bulbs. You can recycle non-working decorative lights at Home Depot.


Additional Resources

Make Your Holiday Feast Zero Waste
Use Signmaker to make customized recycle, compost, and landfill signs for your next party
Use SFRecycles to find out how to get rid of almost anything

 

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