Holiday Cleanup with 3Rs

used wrapping paper by Christmas tree

Practicing the 3 Rs Makes Holiday Cleanup a Snap

Between baking, partying, shopping, decorating and wrapping gifts, the holidays can be tremendously joyous – until it’s time to clean up the mess. Like most festive whirlwind events, preparing for the aftermath can make dealing with clean up a lot easier.

Start by keeping your tree free from flocking, so it can be recycled. Recycle natural holiday trees, garlands and wreaths in your curbside yard waste cart, according to your waste hauler’s guidelines. Holiday trees can also be recycled for free at any of the three Salinas Valley Recycles locations from December 26th through January 31st – just remove any stands and decorations, drive in and drop it off at the tree recycling area. Visit for details.

When planning your holiday gatherings, set up recycling stations in convenient areas. Place a mixed recycling bin for glass, aluminum and plastic alongside a trash receptacle near your food and beverage stations. This lets guests know where to recycle their empties when they come for refills or seconds. Recycling stations also help keep recycling bins free of trash and vice-versa. That’s less for you to separate and clean up the dreaded morning after.

Provide reusable to-go containers for your guests to take leftover food and treats home with them. While reducing your kitchen chores, it prevents perishable food from being wasted, and is the gift that keeps on giving.

Wrap gifts in reusable items like cloth shopping bags, towels, jars, boxes, crates, pillowcases or scarves, so the wrap becomes part of the gift and the recipient takes it with them. Better yet, give gifts that don’t require wrapping – experiences like movie passes, concert tickets, museum and park memberships, gift certificates and gift cards are waste-free memories in the making!

If you wrap in paper, reuse brown paper bags or newspapers – both are recyclable! When you cannot resist buying gift wrap, try to avoid those with metallic printing and coatings because they can’t be recycled.

Cardboard boxes can be broken down and placed into your curbside recycling carts or brought to any Salinas Valley Recycles location for free recycling.

Upgrading your electronics? Donate working electronics to a worthy cause. Broken or obsolete electronics like broken strings of lights, laptops, mobile phones, computer monitors, televisions, stereo equipment and more can be recycled free at any Salinas Valley Recycles location. Salinas Valley Recycles also offers a free homebound pick-up service for e-waste and limited special wastes like batteries, latex paint, motor oil/filters, antifreeze, and medical sharps in approved containers.

Visit or call (831) 775-3000 for details. Making the holidays greener by reducing, reusing and recycling, helps start the New Year off right! Wishing you safe and happy holidays.

 Jenny Mitchell | Recycling Coordinator

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