Household waste in the United States increases by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day—and so goes for Cumberland County.

And influx of recycled materials consistently spikes this time of year at our Solid Waste Complex—and while commitment to recycling is encouraged and appreciated, awareness of proper disposal is critical for the efficiency of our County. Here’s what to know this holiday season.

Things you CAN recycle:

  • Electronics—“E-waste” is a growing problem in our country—and even in Cumberland County. Proper disposal of old phones, computers, monitors, and televisions is legally binding. In other words, it is illegal to throw your television or laptop computer in the garbage. Instead, bring your e-waste to one of these 12 locations in Cumberland County.
  • Cardboard boxes—all cardboard boxes and materials are accepted at recycling centers—so there’s no excuse to find it in the garbage! If you receive a cardboard gift box, consider holding on to it until the following year for another gift.
  • Paper greeting cards—paper greeting cards are, of course, recyclable, yes. However, it’s important to use your own discretion; many cards with laminate or plastic coating, glitter, foil, or voice-recording instruments will not be accepted at your local facility.
  • Kraft paper—the thick brown paper used for wrapping gifts (among myriad things) can often be reused to wrap other items, or even placed in your bin to be processed at a recycling facility.
  • Synthetic corks—most synthetic corks are made from polycarbonate, or plastic #7, and can be tossed straight in your recycling bin.

Things you CANNOT recycle:

  • Wrapping paper—unless you’re wrapping gifts with kraft paper or newspaper, most gift wraps are nonrecyclable due to lamination, plastic linings, glitter, and dyes that cannot mix with other materials.
  • Batteries—most recycling facilities are not equipped to process the harmful heavy metals contained in batteries such as mercury, copper, lead, and lithium. Instead, opt for a rechargeable battery.
  • Holiday lights—like other items on this list, most facilities are not capable of recycling holiday string lights, so it’s important to put them in the correct bin.
  • Gift bags—much like many of the wrapping papers on the market, gift bags are often laminated, lined with plastic, or contain other materials that could contaminate other items during the recycling process. Your best bet is to reuse a bag when giving a gift or using it for storage.

For more tips on recycling, visit our other blog posts, or reach out to the Cumberland County Improvement Authority for questions on recycling by calling 856.825.3700.

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