Help Tempe recycle right . . . even during the holidays

Tempe City Councilmember Jennifer Adams wants city residents to know about changes to the recycling program.
— Wrangler News photo

By Jennifer Adams

Recycling is important to the City of Tempe. Your City Council recently reaffirmed its commitment to recycling, in spite of changes in global recycling markets that are making it harder for communities like ours to sustain robust programs that divert trash from landfills.

There is increasing pressure on U.S. cities to keep recycling bins free of things that should not be recycled. Contaminated recycling must be sent to the landfill, which costs the city four times more in disposal fees.

That is why Tempe is increasing efforts to let residents know how to recycle right, and we are doing quick checks of curbside recycling bins to remove larger contaminants like electronics and leave behind educational notices.

This is especially important during the holiday season, when all of us generate 25 percent more trash than normal. But we have easy ways for you to minimize waste and do the right thing for the environment and your community. Here are my Top 10 holiday recycling reminders:

  1. Reuse tissue paper and gift bags. You can recycle most wrapping paper (except foil paper) and cardboard tubes.
  2. Recycle all boxes from online shopping. Please break them down before putting them in your blue bin.
  3. Items that are definitely not recyclable: ribbon, bows, twine, light strings, and turkey and ham mesh wrappers.
  4. Rinse out your recyclable aluminum cans and bottles. If there is food residue in them, they are contaminated.
  5. Recycle your real Christmas tree. Tempe offers Christmas tree recycling through Jan. 31 at the Compost Yard or Kiwanis Recreation Center. Or put it on your green organics pile for collection. Donate your unwanted artificial Christmas tree.
  6. Donate old bikes to Tempe’s Recycle- a-Bicycle program at Gililland Middle School. For details, visit RecycleaBicycle.
  7. Donate old items that you no longer want after Christmas, rather than throwing them away.
  8. Make sure you recycle all those empty bottles and cans from holiday entertaining. Glass and aluminum can be recycled again and again.
  9. Holiday cooking can create significant grease. Residents can drop off used grease through early January at four Tempe locations. Visit for more information.
  10. Never use your blue recycling bin as an extra trash bin. If you have extra trash, call Tempe 311 at 480-350-4311 for an additional trash pickup.

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