Recycling tips after the holidays

OCRRA will begin taking back your Christmas tree on Monday.

We're a couple of days removed from opening Christmas presents, and like many Central New Yorkers, you probably have lots of wrapping paper in your home. Here in Onondaga County, the average percentage of recycled materials is nearly double the national average.

Nationwide, people recycle 33 percent of all the trash they throw out. Locally, that number is 61 percent. In order to keep recycling numbers high, the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (OCRRA) says people should follow some of these tips:

1. Know which wrapping paper is recyclable...and which is not. Anything that has metal, plastic, or any type of foil, should be trashed, but traditional wrapping paper is recyclable.

2. Turn "in" the lights. Instead of throwing them away stringed lights that aren't working, OCRAA says you can bring them back to Lowe's for free through January 4th, where they'll be recycled properly.

3. Bring your tree back. OCRRA operates two facilities in Jamesville and Camillus that take old Christmas trees to recycle into mulch and compost. Starting Monday, both facilities will accept Christmas trees for anyone without curbside pickup. Both locations are open weekdays from 9am - 4pm, and 9am - 12pm on Saturday until mid-January.

Danielle Esposito tries to save just about everything she can year to year. "In our normal life recycling is very important, so around Christmas to waste? I'm not someone who wastes," says Esposito. "Everybody laughs at my bows because they're from years and years, some ribbon is probably 5 to 10 years old."

Ann Fordock is a Recycling Specialist at OCRRA in Liverpool. Her job is to help people recycle Christmas items after the holidays. "If it had any decorative things affixed to it you would throw it out, because it's not as easy as recycling this one, so this one is blue bin this one is trash," says Fordock. "When you look at the expense that's why I think you would convince people to not just throw it out, once it hits their pocket book that's when they see the difference," says Fordock.

Many neighbors say they frequently reuse their bows, bags, and sometimes even wrapping paper. One family in particular buys Christmas trees with the roots still attached, and after they're done with its traditional indoor use, they plant it in the backyard, where they have dozens of trees from over the years.