Winter Holiday Season Tips for Reducing Waste and Maximizing Recycling


The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes the excess trash from most households as they deal with parties, presents and other holiday activities.  Since Fayetteville operates a Pay-As-You-Throw residential trash program, managing this extra volume can prove somewhat of a challenge.  In December, each single family household will be mailed 4 free extra bag stickers for 2013.  The stickers are to be used on excess bags of trash at any time throughout the year to avoid the $6 extra bag charge for excess trash above the rim of the cart on trash service days. 

The City’s recycling markets request that no wrapping paper or tissue paper be collected with our mixed paper because of contamination with tape, glitter, etc.; however, Styrofoam packing peanuts and possibly bubble wrap can be taken to most mailing companies.  Please check with them before bringing this type of material to them.  Here are some helpful hints as we go through this busy period of the year.

  • Be creative with "no wrap" options.  Hide that large, unwieldy gift somewhere in the house or yard.  Give the recipient a card with a series of clues leading to the present.
  • Wrap gifts in materials that can be reused, such as baskets, tins, scarves, and handkerchiefs.
  • Gift bags are an attractive, reusable alternative to wrapping paper.
  • Newspaper comic pages and magazines make unique gift wrap �� and they're recyclable.  Old posters, maps, and blueprints work great also.
  • If you purchase gift wrap, look for paper with a high percentage of post-consumer recycled content.
  • Unwrap gifts carefully.  Dedicate a collection area for gift wrap, trim, and boxes to be reused next year.
  • Instead of Styrofoam packing peanuts and bubble wrap, cushion gifts with recyclable newsprint or plastic grocery bags, unbuttered popcorn, or corn-based packing peanuts that disintegrate in water.
  • Save and reuse packing peanuts that you receive or donate them to a local mailing and shipping store.
  • Avoid the holiday mail bottleneck by sending an electronic greeting card via the internet.  There is a wide selection of colorful, animated cards to fit all occasions.
  • Cut up and use last year’s holiday cards as this year's gift tags.
  • Gifts like movie passes or donations to organizations on behalf of someone are especially meaningful.
  • Avoid disposables.  Serve your holiday guests with reusable plates, cups and utensils.  Less waste goes to landfills, and real dishes lend an elegant touch to your party.
  • Artificial trees can be used year after year.
  • Always try to use rechargeable batteries for all your new gifts.  This reduces disposal problems with regular batteries.

The Fayetteville Recycling Drop Off located in front of the Solid Waste and Recycling offices at 1560 S. Happy Hollow Road is open 24 hours a day / 7 days a week for those wanting to drop off extra recyclables from holiday activities.  

Do you have extra E-Scrap items like old computers or T.V.'s that need to be recycled after the Holidays?  If so, call the Washington County Environmental Affairs Office at 444-1725 for recycling options. 

Christmas Tree Recycling -

Christmas trees are very recyclable with the City composting program.  Christmas trees will be collected throughout the month of January, 2013, when placed curbside with yardwaste collection, which occurs the same day as the normal trash and recycling collection.  Please allow ample space around the trash cart and recycling bin for ease of collection.

All trees must be free from all plastic bags, stands, decorations, lights, and tinsel before they will be collected.  No artificial trees will be collected for composting.  Residents can also bring trees to the City's Composting facility free of charge during normal operating hours.  The Composting facility is located at 1708 S. Armstrong Ave. in southeast Fayetteville.  The hours of operations are Tuesday's and Thursday’s from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and the first Saturday of each month from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 

The compost facility produces two products in mulch and compost.  Mulch is $10 per scoop and compost is $20 per scoop.  Each scoop is approximately 2 �� cubic yards.  Mulch and compost are available during normal hours at the Compost Facility while supplies last. 

Mulch is made from ground up trees and is great for weed suppression and moisture retention around plants and is made from trees collected through the City’s Yardwaste program and trees dropped off at the Composting site.  Compost is made from leaves and grass and goes through a biological process to make a soil amendment.

Recycling Reminder -

With all the extra boxes associated with the Holiday season, here are some helpful hints for what to do with them.  In addition to our normal curbside recycling service, the City operates a 24-hour, seven days a week, recycling drop-off located at 1420 S. Happy Hollow Road for items such as cardboard, newspaper, mixed paper, plastic bottles #1 and #2, aluminum cans, steel cans and all colors of glass containers.  Wrapping paper often contains contaminates such as tape, glitter, foil, and other such non paper items.  Please do not place contaminated wrapping and tissue paper into the mixed paper container at the recycling drop off or in your curbside recycling bin, it hinders the marketability of the mixed paper.   

For more information please contact the Solid Waste and Recycling Office at 575-8398 or visit us at and look under the Solid Waste and Recycling page.  Also, for additional tips about reducing your carbon footprint and waste this holiday season, a holiday "Green Your Life" segment is available at: