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The Naughty/Nice Lists for Holiday Recycling

Brown paper, the kind used for packages tied up with string, is on the nice list. The blue satin sashes? Not so much.

What can be recycled when it comes to holiday materials? The Village of Downers Grove's solid waste hauler, Republic Services, has compiled a nice/naughty list for the season.
NICE (Recyclable)

  • Gift boxes
  • Tissue paper
  • Shoe boxes
  • Holiday cards/envelopes
  • Gift bags (Paper, only)
  • Wrapping paper (also consider reusing)

NAUGHTY (not recyclable)

  • Bubble wrap (consider reusing)
  • Foam peanuts
  • Sticky gift labels
  • Gift bags (if coated, laminated or dyed)
  • Metallic wrapping paper (consider reusing.)
  • Ribbon and bows (consider reusing.) These cannot be recycled because most aren't paper products.
  • Soiled disposable table ware

There are creative and practical ways to reuse items that are not recyclable. For example, use sustainable packing materials when packing and sending gifts. Instead of purchasing new foam peanuts, use shredded newspaper or even popcorn. Foam peanuts are made from polystyrene and are usually not recyclable. If you receive foam peanuts in packages, consider reusing them for later shipping.

For those holiday greeting cards you receive this season, recycle paperboard and paper envelopes. If you just can't bear to toss them in the bin, use them to make a festive gift tag.

More clever ideas for recycling and reusing holiday materials can be found online - simply search "recycling holiday décor" for a variety of websites with some great information. And remember, no matter what the season, never put plastic bags in the recycling container.