Recycle Your Gift Wrap and Boxes, Plus Other Holiday Recycling Advice

Holiday trash causes an extra 1 million tons of trash

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Green Morris Holidays: Recycle Your Gift Wrap and Boxes, Plus Other Holiday Recycling Advice from Morris MUA

Holiday gift-giving can be fun and generous and rewarding …. and the materials those gifts are wrapped in can easily outsize your trash cans. The boxes and paper and protective wrap produce an extra 1 million tons of trash across the nation, and Morris County is not immune.

To help make this a more environmentally friendly holiday season, especially as we approach Christmas Day, the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority urges county residents to use the general guide below to reduce the load. Be sure to check out your town’s website or go to for a listing of material that is acceptable in your curbside recycling program.

Holiday trash causes an extra 1 million tons of trash.

Recycle curbside — or reuse

    • Paper gift wrap – without sparkles, raised pattern or foil look
    • Sheets of tissue paper
    • Boxes, both corrugated and gift
    • 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

 Trash — or reuse

    • Ribbon and bows
    • Gift wrap with sparkles, raised patterns or foil look
    • Bubble wrap (Some small shippers will reuse.)
    • 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

Special recycling:

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.Green Morris Holidays: Recycle Your Gift Wrap and Boxes, Plus Other Holiday Recycling Advice from Morris MUA

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.

“The amount of trash that haulers collect increases dramatically during the holidays,” said Chris Vidal, of the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority’s Recycling Department. “Much of that is gift wrap and packaging that can be reused or recycled.” For more information on single stream recycling at MCMUA, click here.

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

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