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How to know if your gift wrap can be recycled

Just because it's made of paper or plastic, doesn't mean it's recyclable. The things to keep in mind when unwrapping holiday gifts this year.

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio — It's some people's favorite part of the holidays -- we're talking about opening presents. 

But it also creates a lot of extra waste.

3News went to the experts at the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District to learn about the dos and don'ts of recycling gift wrap.

Education specialist Carin Miller tells us that while most wrapping paper can be recycled, some of it can't.

“When you're unwrapping your presents, I recommend keeping a bag nearby. I usually use a paper grocery bag because that's recyclable, too. I put all that recyclable wrapping paper into that and then I will recycle that.”

Miller explains there are some exceptions. Basically, the fancier the wrapping paper, the less likely it can be recycled.

“If it has glitter on it, or if it has really shiny metallic foil on it, like shiny silver or shiny gold, that is not recyclable,” Miller says.

It is OK to leave tape on the wrapping paper when you recycle it.

There are several other things to keep in mind when deciding what to recycle and what to throw away, when it comes to gift wrap. Tissue paper cannot be recycled curbside, but is accepted at paper drop-off bins.

Miller says to look for Paper Retriever and River Valley bins. These are the drop-off bins located in the parking lots of schools, places of worship and Cleveland Metroparks locations.

Ribbon and bows are not recyclable. If they're in good shape, save them to reuse next year. 

What about shipping boxes?

“The main thing with shipping boxes is please make sure that they're empty."

Packaging like Styrofoam, bubble wrap and air bubble mailers are not recyclable.

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Miller does point out that the air bubble mailers can be recycled if you take them to a retailer that recycles plastic shopping bags, but they cannot be recycled curbside.

Just because something is plastic doesn’t mean it can be recycled. That goes for the hard plastic shell that so many things come packaged in -- especially toys.

3News will have tips on holiday recycling throughout the next several days.

For more information on recycling, visit the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District website.