HOUSTONTexas  (KIAH) – You may try your best to do good for the planet and recycle year-round! But even the most outstanding recyclers in Houston have second thoughts about what can and can’t go in our jolly green bins during the holiday season! Remember Santa knows if you have been bad or good so follow these rules provided by the City of Houston’s Solid Waste Management Department! Director Mark Wilfalk of the Solid Waste Management Dept. informs us on the importance of recycling correctly.  

Year round, the city encourages you to recycle the following: flattened cardboard boxes, magazines, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans! Things can get tricky during the holidays as many are receiving packages left and right this season. DO recycle the boxes, DO NOT recycle the foam packaging, cellophane, or bubble wrap. After opening gifts, it may be tempting to put that pile of ribbons, bows and sparkling wrapping paper in the green bin. Think again!  

Wilfalk states, “We do take the wrapping paper, but we do not accept the bows, ribbon, and glitter. We ask for people to put those in the trash can.” 

As for old Christmas lights that do not work anymore, Mark says, “Those are fine in the normal solid waste containers, but we do not want them in the recycling bin”. 

What should you do with old Christmas trees?  

Mark says, “You can take old Christmas trees to any of our drop off facilities”.  

The city will continue to add locations to that list closer to the end of the holiday season. Drop off sites are for REAL trees only. Synthetic Christmas trees that you no longer want should go in the trash, not the recycling bin. 

The city wants to remind you to stay patient if trash pickups are delayed, staffing is short during the holiday season. There are also no regulators sifting through the bins to take out any “mistakes”. So, the city is relying on YOU to be careful when separating your trash.