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Here's Your Guide To Holiday Plastic Recycling In Boise

Frankie Barnhill
Boise State Public Radio
Natalie Monro with the City of Boise says you're not alone if you're confused about what to do with all the different types of plastics used in holiday packaging.

The holidays are a time of delicious treats and gifts. But it’s also a time for plastic waste, whether it’s the wrapper on a Christmas cookie or the packaging on a tree ornament.


In Boise, city officials want people to know how to properly recycle – and perhaps cut back on – the piles of plastic we buy in stores and online. We invited Natalie Monro of the City of Boise Public Works Department to Boise State Public Radio to give us a demonstration of what to do with holiday plastics. It's a follow-up to our reporting on the orange bag program launched in May.


City of Boise employee Natalie Monro is surrounded by an assortment of gift bags, candies, glittery wrapping and delicious treats.

“So let’s see, let’s start with the cookies,” she says. She picks up some store-bought cookies in a clear, plastic bag-like container with a twist tie and a paper sticker with nutrition facts on it.

“If you buy something like this, take the cookies out, and if you can get the sticker off that’s great. But also a certain level of contamination for stickers is expected so don’t stress about that.”

Monro says plastic bags and wrapping like this can be recovered in the city’s eight-month-old orange bag program. The initiative sends hard-to-recycle plastics to a facility in Salt Lake City, where the material is converted to diesel fuel.

But the cookies in the clamshell container with molded plastic? Not so much. Monro turns the container over and points out the #1 in the triangle.

“And because it is not a bottle, jug or jar it is going to have to go into the trash.”


Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio
The plastic container on the left has to be thrown away because it's a #1 and a clamshell package, while the plastic wrapping on the right can be recovered in the orange bag program.

Munro suggests people use this guide or look for the number on the plastic if they can’t tell right away what to do with it. But when it doubt? She says to throw it out.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio