What holiday items get recycled? What doesn't?

A bunch of used, torn up holiday gift wrapping paper
Photo credit dstaerk/Getty Images

Las Vegas, NV (KXNT) - The pandemic is looming over the holidays this year, and with consumers avoiding retail crowds, Republic Services is bracing for an influx of packaging waste like they’ve never seen before. This is a positive though because without recycling, consumers could face aluminum shortages (no canned goods!) and packaging materials for our favorite Amazon deliveries.

This rapid and monumental increase in cardboard and other packaging materials, combined with typical household producing 1,000 extra pounds of waste from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, makes proper recycling more important than ever.

Ahead of the holidays it is particularly important for Las Vegas residents to have tips on what to throw. In a study conducted by Republic Services earlier this year, it was found that 65.2% of Las Vegas respondents reported that spending more time at home in recent months due to the pandemic has made them more aware of their impact on the environment, yet 23.6% don’t understand what can and cannot be recycled.

Here's a few recycling tips from Sustainability Ambassador Jeremy Walters to ensure your holiday shopping spree doesn’t do any harm to the environment:

· DO: The good news is that about 80 percent of holiday waste can be reused, re-purposed or recycled. When it comes to cardboard gift boxes, basic wrapping paper, plain paper gift bags, and holiday cards, place them in your curbside bin.

· DON’T: Don’t put your recyclables inside a cardboard box and then in the bin. Recycling should always stay separated and loose; never bag or box it.

· DO: Flatten cardboard boxes to save space in your bin.

· DON’T: There are quite a few items we see that shouldn’t be in the recycling bin at all. We call this Santa’s bad list, which includes bubble wrap, cellophane, plastic bags (try recycling these at your local grocery store), ribbons, air pillows, or foam packaging. If you can’t reuse or donate these packaging materials, put them in a waste container, not your recycling bin.

· DO: If you’re stocking up on wrapping supplies too, keep it simple. Only basic glitter-free, non-laminated paper bags and wrapping paper can go in your recycling bin. All those glitter-laden bags, cellophane wrapping paper and shiny bows are not recyclable. Save and reuse these materials next year.