Reuse, reduce, and recycle common holiday waste

Dec 11, 2019

With the holiday season comes gifts, and with gifts comes waste — wrapping paper, boxes, bows, and other frills that will then need to be disposed of.

The Greater New Bedford Regional Refuse Management District and the Dartmouth DPW are asking residents to consider being mindful of the amount of waste generated by the holiday season, and has issued a set of tips and advisories for disposing of common holiday materials.

According to the District, the holiday season increases waste production in the area by 25 percent. The District notes that reusing, recycling, and giving experiences instead of objects — like movie tickets or gift cards to restaurants — can all reduce waste.

"When sharing gifts this holiday season, please make room for the new by donating, selling, or recycling items you no longer need,” said David Hickox, Dartmouth Director of Public Works. “The reuse or recycling of items will save valuable landfill space. And as important, please remember to only place the correct materials in recycling carts to keep the recycling program running efficiently.”

Residents should also be mindful of important waste disposal information. Wrapping paper is not recyclable. Instead, the District advises residents to use newspaper, grocery store flyers, paper bags, reusable packaging paper, or give gifts in reusable bags, jars, or tins. Bows, ribbons, and string cannot be recycled either.

Cardboard boxes, gift boxes, catalogs, and other clean paper can be placed in residents’ black-lid recycling carts. Greeting cards can be disposed of in the cart too, as long as they lack metallic inks, foil, batteries, and glitter.

The Dartmouth Transfer Station at 976 Russells Mills Road accepts clean blocks of styrofoam for disposal. The Transfer Station will have a special cart for disposal of string lights until January 31, 2020. A valid transfer station sticker is required. These items cannot be placed in curbside recycling carts.

Undecorated real Christmas trees can be disposed of in several ways.

For SMART Program participants, real Christmas trees will be collected curbside during the weeks of January 6 and January 13. Residents should place the trees out on the same day as their solid waste collection by 7 a.m. Ornaments, stands, lights, and tinsel must be removed first, and trees should not be placed in plastic bags.

Dartmouth residents may drop off real Christmas trees at the brush area of the Department of Public Works facility at 759 Russells Mills Road. Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. A transfer station sticker is required.

For additional tips and more information about holiday waste disposal, visit the Dartmouth Recycling Facebook page or contact the recycling office by phone at (508) 979-1493 or by email at