Austin holiday cleanup: What you can and can’t recycle

Holiday wrapping paper. KXAN Photo.
Holiday wrapping paper. KXAN Photo.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Where will the trees, presents, boxes and electronics that have filled homes over the holiday season wind up when the festivities end? Austin Resource Recovery hopes Austinites take into account that many of the things they used over the holidays can be recycled.

Susanne Harm with Austin Resource Recovery recommends that people consider reducing waste by donating extra edible food to food banks and charities. For food that’s not edible, she recommends bringing it to a community garden to be composted.

Harm had tips for other holiday items as well:

Christmas trees

Harm said that Austin Resource Recovery doesn’t want you to place your tree in the trash. First of all, they say it’s best to keep plant matter out of the landfill. Additionally, Christmas trees can be mulched and used in gardens. You can put your tree in your recycling bin if you get Austin recycling services. If you don’t receive city recycling, you can bring your tree to Zilker Park to be recycled on Dec. 30 and 31 and Jan. 6 and 7. Volunteers will help haul out your tree and stack it there.

Wrapping paper

“The city of Austin, would really, really love it if everyone would recycle their holiday wrapping paper,” Harm said. She explained that most wrapping paper is recyclable. The only paper that is not recyclable is the metallic, foil wrapping paper, Harm said. She added that wrapping paper that can’t be recycled can be donated to teachers or craft stores around town.


Harm said that with more and more people shopping online, there are more cardboard boxes being discarded.

“It’s extremely important for people to break those down and flatten them so they can recycle them,” she said.

The city of Austin will pick up any amount of recyclables that fit into your blue bin, they can also pick up stacks of cardboard boxes if you set them next to your bin.

Other items

If you have Christmas lights or batteries that don’t work any more, you can drop them off at the Austin Resource Recovery Center at 2514 Business Center Drive. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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