Your Christmas trash sorting guide for P.E.I., 2021 version

·3 min read
After the gifts are unwrapped, don't forget to dispose of your holiday waste responsibly. (Shutterstock - image credit)
After the gifts are unwrapped, don't forget to dispose of your holiday waste responsibly. (Shutterstock - image credit)

So you've opened the presents and your living room is a sea of wrapping paper, ribbons and cardboard.

Now what?

Island Waste Management hopes you will resist the temptation to throw it all together and drop it at the curb.

After all, nobody likes to see that orange rejection sticker on their bins or blue bags!

Island Waste's Heather Myers checked our garbage list twice for accuracy. Here's what to do with some common Christmas items.

Wrapping paper

It's compost unless it has plastic or foil on it. Then it's waste.

Greeting cards

Greeting cards are compost unless they have plastic, foil, ribbons, or other waste items on the cards, in which case the entire card goes in the waste.

If the greeting card has a battery, remove the battery and recycle it at a recycling collection location.

Neil Hyde photo
Neil Hyde photo

Gift bags

If they're shiny with a plastic coating, they're waste.

But, Myers said: "If you have a gift bag that is brown paper with brown paper handles, that can be recycled so it can go with your corrugated cardboard or blue bag number one."

Brown paper packaging

This is recyclable, and can go with corrugated cardboard or in a blue bag.

Environmental Defence
Environmental Defence

Ribbons, bows and tinsel

Waste, waste and waste.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Tissue paper

Compost, even if it has traces of glitter.

"We will accept that small amount of contamination on it," Myers said.

Save tissue paper to make suncatchers with your kids or grandkids.

Dyan Robson/CBC
Dyan Robson/CBC

Bubble wrap

No recycling number on it? Put it in the waste. (After you've popped it, of course).


Boxboard? Think cereal boxes, frozen pizza boxes or folding gift boxes for sweaters.

"The difference is with corrugated cardboard you have the two flat layers with the wavy layer in the centre," Myers said.

Put boxboard in the compost, while its cousin, corrugated cardboard, goes in recycling.

Clementine boxes

It might be tempting to put these wooden boxes in the compost, but don't. They go in the black waste bin.

The clementines and their peelings can go in compost, though.

Shane Hennessey/CBC
Shane Hennessey/CBC

Christmas lights

If there is a plastic cover over the lights, and it doesn't have a recycling number on it, pull it off and put it in waste. The rest goes in the recycling blue bag — bulb or no bulb.

"If you can get the bulb out, take the bulbs out and take them to the Waste Watch drop-off centre for light bulb recycling," Myers said.

"If they won't come out, leave them with the string of lights and put them in blue bag number two for recycling."

Tina Lovgreen/CBC
Tina Lovgreen/CBC

Christmas tree

Curbside collection for Christmas trees starts the week of Jan. 10. Trees have to be curbside by 7 a.m. AT, and drivers are not able to come back if trees are not out in time.

Jennifer Brooker
Jennifer Brooker

Keep in mind, Myers said, that trees may not be collected on the same day as regular garbage pickup.

Anyone whose religious traditions will be affected by the pickup date are encouraged to call IWMC for arrangements. For example, some Islanders may be celebrating Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7.

Here are the rules for discarded Christmas trees: No ornaments on them, no tinsel, no tree heavier than 23 kilograms (50 pounds) or longer than 2.4 metres (eight feet). If it's longer or heavier than that, you can cut it in half.

"Make sure the tree isn't stuck in snow or covered with snow so the drivers can access it," Myers said.

Residential customers can also drop off their trees free of charge during January.

Several Island goat farms have also registered for the IWMC Christmas Tree Program. Check out IWMC's list of registered farmers on its website, and arrange to deliver your tree directly to the farmer if you wish.

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