DNREC reminds Delawareans to make the holiday season another recycling season

Date Posted: Monday, December 26th, 2016
Categories:  Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances DNREC

Simple ways for reducing holiday trash, saving landfill space and protecting the environment

DOVER – From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, Americans throw away 25 percent more trash than at any other time of year. Boxes, wrappings, packaging and party goods add tons of extra garbage to Delaware’s landfills. When deposited in a landfill, a Christmas tree can take up as much space as a washing machine. Thus DNREC reminds Delawareans that holiday time is the right time to reduce your “waste-line” while helping the environment – by recycling your Christmas tree along with all those extra mail order boxes, gift-wrapped packages, tags and cards.

“It’s easier than ever to recycle holiday materials through Delaware’s Universal Recycling program,” said Bill Miller, program manager in DNREC’s Solid & Hazardous Waste Management Section. “Universal Recycling is single stream, meaning cardboard, paper, junk mail, plastic containers, glass bottles and metal cans can all get tossed into your recycling container for curbside pickup or dropped off at a Delaware Solid Waste Authority recycling drop-off center.”

Single-stream recycling collection service is included with trash collection service at all single and multi-family residences. It is also available to all businesses, non-profits, organizations, municipalities, and schools in Delaware. An updated “How to Recycle” guide is online at The guide’s center page features a handy list with images of items that are accepted for recycling in Delaware.

Electronics, plastic bags, and Styrofoam are not accepted in single-stream recycling programs. Here are some helpful tips to recycle these and other materials this season, as well as reduce waste year-round:

  • Recycle unwanted boxes, wrapping paper (without foil backing), card stock type gift tags, cards and envelopes along with all the holiday catalogues and promotional mail. These items can go in your curbside recycling bin or be taken to a recycling drop-off center.
  • Recycle your Christmas tree. Trees must be free of all ornaments, lights and other trimmings, as well as tree stands. Information on free drop-off options for Christmas trees can be found in another DNREC press release issued today. For other management options, contact your waste hauler or visit Also, please note: Christmas trees are no longer accepted at Delaware State Parks.
  • Collect and reuse boxes, tissue paper, ribbons, bows and other gift decorations for next year. Save used holiday cards to cut up as gift tags for next year.
  • Take plastic retail bags back to grocery stores and other retailers. Plastic bags cannot be recycled in single-stream recycling programs. However, most stores have collection containers for plastic bags (usually located near the entrance or customer service area).
  • Recycle your old electronic devices. Some manufacturers and retailers have free take-back programs (e.g. Staples, Dell, etc.). The Delaware Solid Waste Authority also offers drop-off sites and collection events for electronics in Delaware.
  • Donate usable toys, appliances, clothing, and household goods to organizations like Goodwill, the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity. Support those retail outlets as great options for gifts, clothing, and building supplies.

More information can be found at or by calling DNREC’s Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances at 302-739-9403.

Media Contact: Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 428


DNREC Logo The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). Want your news hot off the press? Join the DNREC press release email list. Send a blank email to
For more information, contact the DNREC Public Affairs Office, at 302.739.9902

The Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances oversees the handling, transferring and storing of solid and hazardous waste by regulating, monitoring, inspecting and enforcing Delaware’s environmental laws and regulations.

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