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Posted Wednesday, December 18th, 2019

Holidays add 1 Million Tons of Trash to Landfills

Graphic on recycling dos and don'ts for the holidays

Click to enlarge, print and post.

Morris County residents are encouraged to use the tips below, provided by the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority, to recycle gift-related items and to help reduce the load of  holiday trash heading for landfills.

Check you town’s website or visit for a full list of materials that are acceptable in your municipal curbside recycling programs. Or get the free app at Recycle Coach.

Remember: When in Doubt, Throw it Out. Don’t guess about recycling. 

Items that can be recycle at curbside — or reused:

  • Boxes, both corrugated and gift
  • Paper gift wrap – without sparkles, raised pattern or foil look
  • Sheets of tissue paper
  • Plastic bottles and containers coded 1, 2 or 5
  • Clean and dry aluminum cans, food trays and pie plates
  • Loose metal caps and jar lids
  • Glass jars and bottles
  • Cartons and boxes for milk, juice and soup


Items that are trash — or can be reused:

  • All bubble wrap and bubble wrap envelopes (Some small shippers will reuse.)
  • Ribbon and bows
  • Gift wrap with sparkles, raised patterns or foil look
  • Packing peanuts (Some small shippers will reuse.)
  • Uncoded plastic of any type
  • Plastic containers coded 3, 4, 6, or 7
  • All plastic caps
  • ALL paper plates, cups, plastic lids, straws and utensils, even if they are unused.
  • To-go coffee cups and lids. Please get a reusable one.
  • Plastic rings from 6-packs
  • Hangers of all types
  • Please trash diapers.

Recycling tips for plastic bags, electronic waste, batteries, Christmas trees, and holiday string lights:

Clean, dry plastic bags can be dropped off at many area grocery stores where they are sent to a recycler who manufactures them into composite lumber. Visit to find a location. Please do NOT put plastic bags into curbside recycling, where they end up damaging recycling machinery, costing taxpayers money.

E-waste (electronics) recycling such as TVs, computers, tablets, laptops, monitors, desktop printers and desktop faxes is mandated by state law. They are banned from the garbage. Please do not leave them at the curb where scavengers can rip out valuable metals and leave a hazardous waste mess behind. The MCMUA, many municipalities, and several retail outlets provide free e-waste recycling. Visit the website for more information.

Battery recycling and disposalThe MCMUA and most towns now advise putting disposable alkaline AA and AAA in the garbage. For more information visit or click here. Recycle rechargeable batteries through Call2Recycle.

Natural Christmas trees: Check with your municipality for guidelines. MCMUA does not recycle trees from homeowners.

Strings of holiday lights are accepted by some scrap metal dealers, but call first. Recycling guidelines vary. Click here  to check with your municipality.

For ideas and information on recycling, visit, DEP wastewise.

Special programs: Bikes and sewing machines, boat shrink wrap.