Recycling gift wrapping materials

Published: Dec. 24, 2019 at 5:17 AM CST
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Unwrapping gifts is a fun tradition for many families during the holidays, but cleaning up is not as fun.

People may be faced with the question of: 'to recycle or not recycle?' with their gift wrapping leftover materials.

The City of Madison Streets Division said the most common mistake they see are plastic bags or pieces inside cardboard boxes that are tossed in the recycle bins.

"Separate the items out while you clean up," Bryan Johnson, City of Madison Streets Division Communications Director, said. "Plastic can be recycled but it is not accepted at curbside pick up. You need to call or bring it to the drop off site so it can be recycled with the according number."

Plastic is separated into seven recyclable groups. More information on how to recycle plastic


Common gift wrapping materials like tissue paper, bows/ribbons and wrapping paper are not recyclable. Wrapping paper is recyclable if it is made from a paper based material. The wrapping paper with glitter and metallic material goes in the trash.

Cardboard boxes are recyclable, but the Streets Division reminds people to flatten the boxes before they toss them in their recycle bin.

Another common issue the Streets Division sees is people, "wish-cycling" tossing materials they "think" or "wish" was recyclable.

"Just because the shape of it, the size of it what that material is actually made out of you can't just put it in the green cart, it's really important that you're staying up to date on the recycling rules and don't just put basketballs or clothes in the cart because you think it's recyclable be certain when you put it in the cart," Johnson said.

Bigger items like old TVs, electronics, metals and batteries need to be taken to the drop off site. The biggest tip Johnson said for people is to not "think" something is recyclable, but "know" it is by doing your research. You can find the appropriate recyclable items list from the Streets Division


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