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Christmas recycling guide for 2015

For many, Christmas morning includes time with family and the excited anticipation of opening presents. Once the unwrapping is done, the familiar scene of trash bags full of cardboard boxes, wrapping paper and other product packaging is set.

This presents an opportunity to recycle holiday items and cut back on waste.

Brookhaven’s recycling program has limitations, but all that wrapping paper can find its way to a new life with the city’s recycling program. The recycling program in Brookhaven can handle plastic bottles and jugs with the PETE No. 1 and HDPE No. 2 symbols on them, metal cans, mixed paper and cardboard. Brookhaven Recycles volunteer Linda Moak said mixed paper includes magazines, hardcover and paperback books and slick copies — so that printed stuff shouldn’t be trashed. Cardboard gift boxes should also be recycled.

Plastic toys cannot be recycled, but what they are packaged in might. Check for the corresponding numbers on packaging before trashing. Brookhaven Recycles cautions that it cannot recycle plastic bags, glass, Styrofoam, soiled paper, chemical containers, electronics, garden hoses, lawn chairs, garbage cans or any plastics without the PETE No. 1 or HDPE No. 2 symbols. Plastic cups and tableware may be rinsed and recycled.

Some places such as Lowe’s and Home Depot have offered Christmas-light recycling, but they can’t be recycled from home. (Pro tip: Snag a few boxes of Christmas lights when they are marked down to a fraction of the price before packing up the Christmas decorations to replace the strings that inevitably won’t work next year for cheap.)

Receiving new gifts sometimes means throwing out or replacing older items, some of which may be recyclable in a larger city like Jackson, or through specific companies. While Brookhaven Recycles can’t take electronics, many electronics are recyclable.

“I would just encourage people to go online and research what’s going on nation-wide,” Moak said. “A lot of companies will recycle those products if you give them the opportunity to.”

Brookhaven residents seeking one of the program’s 35-gallon recycling containers can pick one up at the facility on Willard Street. According to Moak, all people need to bring is proof of residence to pick up a container.

Christmas cleaning to make room for new things may be the perfect opportunity to make a trip with collected items that may be recycled elsewhere. The Environmental Service Center of Jackson at 1708 Terry Road can take household hazardous waste: used motor oil, used oil filters, antifreeze, car batteries, household batteries, transmission and brake fluid, paint donation, paint disposal, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, fertilizers, household cleaners, solvents, degreasers, adhesives, pool chemicals, photographic chemicals, paint thinners, stains, 20-pound propane tanks and more.

More information about the Brookhaven Recycles program can be found at http://brookhavenms.com/wp/city-departments/recycling-info/. Recycling can also be taken to Southern Recycling at 913 Sawmill Lane, NE in Brookhaven.