By Christiane Cordero

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The presents have been opened, the wine has been consumed and the lights have gone out.

So, which of this stuff goes in here?

“Your paper, paper plates, glass bottles,” said Danielle Durkins.

“Also wrapping paper,” said Michael Potter. “What about wrapping paper? I guess it’s paper! But we don’t know for sure because you can buy all kinds of different types.”

He’s got a point.

When it comes to wrapping paper, if it’s just paper, throw it in the bin. If it’s a little more flashy, don’t.

“The shiny ones usually are not recyclable so that just goes in regular trash and to be thrown out,” Carmen Pekarek said.

The wine bottles are made of glass, so they’re recyclable, but take the corks and caps are not. Neither are paper plates if it has food residue on it.

Now what about those Christmas tree lights?

“So, Christmas lights actually can be recycled, we just ask that you don’t put them in your recycling bin,” Eureka Recycling Co-President Kate Davenport said.

She told us the facility has to shut down for to to three hours every day because of tanglers like Christmas lights, plastic bags and garlands that get stuck in the machines.

“And so I can actually see out of the corner of my eye some garland wrapped around so our staff actually has to climb into the equipment and cut that off. Otherwise it can actually hurt the equipment,” Davenport said.

It also makes those machines less efficient at doing the one job they have to do: sort.

Cardboard boxes also complicate the process. They’re recyclable, but Styrofoam and plastic need to be taken out, and the boxes need to be broken down.

It helps them for sure. This time of year, it also helps you.

Christiane Cordero

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