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December is a season filled with holiday spirit, friends, and family, but it can also be filled with trash bags of styrofoam, bubble wrap, and all kinds of other waste from Christmas gifts and gatherings. That being said, there are a lot of materials that can be recycled.

"What can be recycled is your plastics, milk jugs, tins, aluminum, all those things," John Harder, Recycling Manager at Gateway Resources in Winkler explains. "Make sure you rinse them. That helps us in the long-run of the smell inside the building."

Where it gets tricky is when non-recyclables are mixed in with recycling. Styrofoam, air-filled packaging plastic, bubble wrap, as well as some types of wrapping paper cannot be recycled. Although foil wrapping paper is shiny and festive, it cannot be recycled.

"People stuff their wrapping paper into cardboard boxes and stuff like that, and that's the stuff we have to throw into the garbage. So if they can use wrapping paper that's not that foily stuff then that's awesome," adds Harder.

As well, "we are starting co-mingled recycling, so on the streets they can throw everything into their bins, [and] everything into their bags. It doesn't have to be sorted anymore."

Recyclable wrapping paper can be placed into blue bags or recycling bins, but no recyclables should be placed into black bags where the contents are not visible. This is important to remember because any non-recyclables or bags that could contain trash will not be collected.

"If we see styrofoam in the bags and boxes we will leave those behind . . . If a cardboard box has a bunch of styrofoam in it we don't want to leave all the styrofoam on your curb to fly away," says Harder, adding it would be extremely helpful if residents can separate recyclables and non-recyclable products before leaving them outside to be picked up.

Any recycling that is brought directly to the depot can now be placed into any of the bins, as long as it is not left on the floor. Previously, there were designated bins for different material.

"If we pay attention to what is recyclable, what is garbage, and what is compostable, you can eliminate your garbage by quite a bit," Harder says.

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