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Should unwanted holiday items be trashed or recycled?

To make sure you make Santa's nice list next year you'll need to follow these rules.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla — 'Tis the season for lots of holiday waste as you entertain guests, tear into presents and finally decide to get rid of that string of lights that has a few dead bulbs. 

But did you know that how you get rid of holiday waste could cause a major headache and backup for recycling centers? 

That's why the City of Tampa's Solid Waster and Environmental Management Department is educating holiday lovers about the right way to recycle decorations to avoid equipment shutdowns.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, American household waste increases by more than 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. 

"Trash cans full of holiday food waste, shopping bags, bows and ribbons, packaging, and wrapping paper contribute an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills," the agency adds.

So, to make sure you avoid being on Santa's naughty list next year, you'll want to avoid putting "tanglers" in your recycling bins.

A list of what can be recycled vs. trashed can be found below. 

Recycle it: 

  • Greeting cards and envelopes
  • Wrapping paper
  • Plastic bottles and containers
  • Aluminum tin and steel cans
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Cartons
  • Cardboard boxes

Trash it (upcycle if possible/donate):

  • Christmas lights
  • Holiday decorations and ornaments
  • Pre-lit and artificial trees
  • Ribbons, bows, tinsel and foil
  • Gift bags and tissue paper
  • Plastic bags
  • Bubble wrap
  • Film
  • Styrofoam