Holiday recycling tips: Save resources - and protect your home

EUGENE, Ore. -- As the holidays come to a close, homes around Lane County start seeing the indicators of the departing season. Families dismantling decorations, fewer leftovers (and relatives) hanging around the house, and often a large pile of packaging, wrapping and outdated items that come with gift giving.

The Lane County Master Recycler Program released the following information in an effort to help people properly dispose of the extra stuff that accumulates during the holidays.

Curbside Recycling

They recommend that the first stop should always be to try and process as much material through their local curbside or drop-off recycling programs.

That should take care of the basics, like gift boxes, wrapping paper, cards, catalogs, plastic, glass, aluminum beverage containers

However Sanipac in Eugene does not accept plastic or metal foil wrapping, tissue paper (which has little recyclable paper fibers) or Styrofoam.

Recycling Styrofoam

Lane County residents have a recycling solution for those pesky large Styrofoam chunks that often come with new electronics and toys.

Clean, white Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Block Foam #6, used in the shipment of large equipment such as home electronics and household appliances, is accepted for recycling from residents of Lane County, free of charge, at the following St. Vincent de Paul locations:

  • 705 Seneca Road in Eugene
  • 201 Division Avenue in Eugene
  • 4555 Main Street in Springfield

You can drop off donations of home goods at the same time but please bag donations separately from Styrofoam. Clean packing peanuts are also accepted for reuse, though please bag separately.

St. Vincent de Paul employees shred block Styrofoam and compress it into logs, making it more cost-effective to transport it to recyclers. A few uses for recycled Styrofoam are picture frame and crown molding manufacturing. Styrofoam peanuts are used to ship at Aurora Glass products or resold in St. Vincent de Paul's thrift stores. What's more - recycling with St Vincent de Paul creates local jobs!

If you have questions about Styrofoam recycling call 541-687-5820 and talk to the receptionist. Businesses wishing to bring large quantities of Styrofoam should contact Val Ko at the same number for business drop-off location and instructions. A small fee is charged to businesses.

Electronics Refurbishing

Got a bunch of stuff like old computer parts, toasters, alarm clocks, and more taking up space at home or work? Why hang on to it? NextStep wants it!

NextStep staff and trainees will refurbish it and safely remove your data and personal information before giving it to people who otherwise wouldn't have access to technology.

If they can't fix it, they will recycle it for you, working with eSteward and R2 Certified Recyclers.

Electronics donations are accepted Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To view a partial list of the types of items that are accepted for refurbishing and recycling visit their website or call 541-686-2366.

Christmas Tree Recycling

One of the biggest Christmas decorations is often one of the more cumbersome holiday remnants to discard.

Also: dried-out old trees can pose a home fire hazard.

Christmas tree and wreath recycling programs around Lane County are often donation-based through organizations like the Boy Scouts (541 485-4433), Girl Scouts (541 485-5911) or local student and church groups.

Sanipac also offers a tree removal service on the last Saturday of January, which costs $10 per tree and must be scheduled in advance.

The other option for properly disposing of your tree is to bring it to one of the local facilities like Rexius or Lane Forest Products.

Everything Else

For a list of tips on ways to reduce, reuse and recycle other items typically generated during the holiday season visit the Lane County recycling page and click on the holiday wreath. Look for Reduce, Reuse & Recycle for the Holidays.

These tips provided by the Waste Free Holidays campaign in partnership with the Lane County Master Recycler Program, BRING, MECCA, NextStep and St. Vincent de Paul.

Waste Free Holidays Campaign

Each year at this time Master Recyclers invite community members to celebrate the season of giving by reducing, reusing, and recycling waste that is typically generated at the holidays. The Waste Free Holidays Campaign highlights several fun, low cost and simple waste prevention strategies families can use from Thanksgiving through the New Year - or any time of year! Visit this website to view Waste Free Holiday tips and resources you can use to help create a truly enjoyable season. New items are added throughout the season so check back periodically for inspiration and announcements of waste free events in our area.

Master Recyclers bridge the gap between awareness and action by motivating people to reduce solid waste at home, work, and play. Lane County Master Recycler Volunteers provide more than 2000 hours of waste prevention education to residents, businesses and events each year. Go to the Lane County Recyclers website to learn more.