How to recycle your holiday garbage in Manitoba

The green way to clean up after a holiday party isn't as simple as tossing the wrapping in the recycling bin.

Cleaning up green after Christmas not as simple as dumping everything in the blue bin

When your Christmas wrapping has gone to the dogs, don't clean it up by tossing it all in the recycling bin. (Randell Porter)

Cleaning after a holiday party can mean filling up those blue bins with red and green paper — but that might do more harm than good.

The City of Winnipeg website says all gift wrap should be tossed in the trash, and for good reason. Wrapping paper sometimes contains wax or metal that can't be recycled, the website explains.

But Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba's site says you can recycle some papers. It all depends on what was used to make the gift wrap.

Tissue paper and wrapping paper labelled "came from a tree" — essentially 100 per cent paper — are recyclable. But any gift wrap made of mylar (a plastic substance) or cellophane and foil-lined papers are not recyclable and should be thrown away if not reused.

You can't recycle specific types of wrapping papers because the dye or laminate content contains non-paper materials such as glitter or plastics, the Green Action Centre website says. The GAC website also says not to throw recyclable and non-recyclable wrapping paper out together, because the two can't be separated automatically.

"Unfortunately, if this is how you chose to wrap your gifts, it all goes straight in the trash," the website reads.

Electronic recycling

Recycling old electronics across Manitoba can be done through the Electronic Products Recycling Association. With 62 depots across the province, you can drop off things like microwaves, computers and radios.

Essentially, if it's from the '90s and is beige, you can drop it off.

Dennis Neufeld, the Manitoba program director for the Electronic Products Recycling Association, said the biggest peak in recycled products comes in early January, especially TVs.

Recycling is still not the first thing people think of when they have waste since, "if it's not convenient, people don't do it," he said.

Neufeld has some advice for people dropping off recyclables.

"When they're taking in the item, they usually have one small item that's standing in their way. Usually it's a television," he said. "I usually tell people go on our website and look at the items we recycle and chances are, you'll find other items that you haven't even thought of in the house. Make one trip and drop everything off."

The EPRA doesn't accept phones, but the MTS Wireless Devices Recycling Program can handle them — even the flip phone Grandma has just in case she gets lost in the mall.

Odds and ends

When it comes to toy packaging, you can recycle cardboard and most plastics. The MMSM suggests if you need scissors to open the package, you can recycle it.

Paper materials such as catalogues, flyers, a distant aunt's greeting card and that bird magazine she gave you can all go in the recycling bin.

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