Holiday Recycling

  • Go green this holiday season 

  • Holiday Recycling Questions

    Find a recycler.

    • Can I recycle paper plates, cups and plastic forks?
      No, not even if they are clean. Reduce waste and borrow extra plates for your gathering.
    • Can I recycle Styrofoam?
      No, block and soft Styrofoam cannot be recycled in your blue cart. Call Metro’s recycling hotline for options, 503-234-3000.
    • What do I do with packing peanuts? 
      Packing peanuts cannot be recycled in your blue cart. Some businesses accept packing peanut donations. There are recycling options through Metro’s recycling hotline, 503-234-3000.
    • Can glossy holiday gift bags go in the blue cart?
      Paper gift bags can be recycled. Tip: If you can tear the paper fairly easily it will pulp up at the paper mill. Plastic or glossy paper goes in the garbage. Gift bags can also be reused or donated to charity. Remove any non-paper items such as ribbons.
    • Can cellophane or foil wrapping paper go in the blue cart?
      Non-paper wrapping material should not go in the blue roll carts. Most “foil-like” paper is metallic ink on paper and is accepted with recycling.
    • Can present ribbons be recycled in the blue cart?
      Non-paper ribbons are not accepted (very few ribbons are paper-based), but ribbons can be saved for reuse. 
    • Can I recycle wrapping paper if it has tape on it?
      Tape is acceptable, but duct tape is not recyclable.
    • Can I recycle cards in blue cart if they have glitter on them?
      Very small quantities of glitter and metallic are acceptable, however, no foil cards.
    • Can I recycle blister packs?
      Those new batteries with the hard plastic on the packaging? That’s an example of a blister pack, and they are not accepted in the blue cart. Call Metro’s recycling Hotline for recycling options at 503-234-3000.
    • Can I recycle poinsettias in the yard debris container?
      Small plants are fine, avoid placing large amounts of dirt in the yard debris container. No foil or ribbon in the yard debris container, please.
    • Can I recycle wreaths in yard debris container?
      Yes, if all metal wire, ribbons, etc. are removed. 
    Reduce Waste at Home

    Metro's Waste-Wise Holidays

    From gift-giving to clean-up, use these tips to reduce waste at home and cut costs.

    • Avoid using disposable dishes and borrow a set of dishes for your large gatherings.
    • Reduce waste by reusing gift bags, boxes, and wrapping with fabric, newspaper and old maps.
    • Choose wrapping paper free of plastic or metal; if you get a gift with it, throw away instead of using the recycle bin. Recycle the holidays right with the City’s curbside recycling guide. 
    • Reduce holiday food waste by shopping with meals in mind. Use containers to freeze extra holiday food for lunches. Get tips and take the challenge at
    • Recycle your old holiday lights and other broken electronic items. Call Metro, 503-234-3000, for your nearest location. Buying news lights? Choose LEDs to save energy.
    • Give an experience with tickets, zoo passes, or gift cards to your favorite local business.
    • Decorate with live plants, tree cuttings, pine cones etc. These can go in your yard debris cart after the holidays.
    • Use last year’s Christmas cards to make crafty ones this year.
    • Gift handmade items such as baked goods, canned or pickled food, craft items or photographs.
    • Carpool, bike or take transit to holiday events.
    • Bring your reusable bags for holiday shopping at local, big box and grocery stores. Not enough bags? Buy a bag for your items and use it for a gift bag.
    Tree Recycling

    Place all natural holiday greenery in your yard debris cart following these requirements:

    • Cut trees and greenery into lengths that easily fit in the yard debris roll cart (36 inches or less) with the lid closed.
    • Trees and debris must be able to fall freely from the cart into the truck when tipped.
    • Include only trees, wreaths, plants and swags that are free of tinsel, ornaments, wires, plastic or other materials.
    • Whole natural trees (not flocked) under 6 feet, or additional yard debris set out not in the cart, will be assessed an additional fee of $3.27.
    • Trees over 6 feet will not be collected unless cut in half. Each half of the tree not in the cart will assess an additional fee of $3.27.
    • Wrap flocked trees and put out as extra garbage pickup for a $4.50 fee.
    • If you are not able to cut your tree, contact your hauler for options. 

    Tree recycling for apartments

    People living in multi-family residences should contact their property managers to arrange for tree collection services.

    Support a local nonprofit fundraiser

    Call Metro at 503-234-3000 to find out who will be picking up trees in your neighborhood for a small fee.


    Metro’s Christmas tree recycling information 

    1 of 3
    • Recycling and Solid Waste's Shaunna Shadle takes the five basic parts of any wrapped gift – card, bow, wrapping paper, tissue paper and box – and designates either recycling or the trash.

    • Gift bags are everywhere for the holidays, birthdays, weddings, showers etc. Aside from reusing, when is a gift bag recyclable? Recycling expert Shaunna Shadle has the scoop.