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Recycling wrapping paper and gift boxes: Dos and Don'ts

There's ripped up wrapping paper and empty boxes all over your house, it's time to clean up -- correctly!

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The presents are open, the toys are out of their boxes and now, you have a big pile of trash ready to go out on the curb and into recycling bins. 

But take a closer look at your garbage haul -- not all kinds of paper and packaging can be recycled and, if not done properly, can cause more harm than good. 

Kevin Schultz, the owner of Junk King in Grand Rapids, gave us a rundown of all the things you can recycle and what is just trash.


  • Wrapping Paper -- If it is glittery or has a glossy/metallic coating -- it can't be recycling. A good way to test, Schultz said, is by doing a "crumple test." If you can crumple up the wrapping paper and it stays crumpled, then it can be recycled. 
  • Gift Bags -- Any bags that are laminated, coated, dyed, or glittered can not be recycled. 
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Christmas lights -- Can not be placed in the recycling bin and need to be taken to the recycling plant.
  • Ribbons
  • Batteries
  • Bows


  • Cardboard and paper boxes
  • Plain wrapping paper
  • Plain, paper gift bags
  • Holiday cards and envelopes -- They must be clear of glitter or glued on decorations

Another big question when it comes to cleaning up Christmas -- how do you get rid of your Christmas tree? 

Schultz suggests recycling your tree to give it "new life." Typically, recycled Christmas trees are turned into mulch. Schultz says Junk King will pick up your Christmas tree and ensure that it is recycled properly. 

If you live in the City of Grand Rapids, there are free drop-off cites for trees through February: 

  • Riverside Park (north entrance), 2001 Monroe Ave. NE
  • MacKay-Jaycees Park, 2531 Kalamazoo Ave. SE
  • Lincoln Park, 231 Marion Ave. NW -- Drop the trees off in the west parking lot located on Garfield Street.
  • Huff Park, 2286 Ball Ave. NE

The City also offers a curbside pickup option. Find more information here.



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