Green Shopping and Holiday Recycling

Cardboard boxes: Single or triple layer cardboard must be flattened, and can be recycled curbside with your waste hauler or at the Town's Rupert Road Transfer Station.  Cardboard wrapping paper tubes can also be recycled in the same way.

Plastic merchant gift card recycling:  Refill your card at the merchant to use again or use old gift cards for craft projects.  Here are 33 craft ideas for plastic gift cards or credit cards.

Plastic Bags and other Film Plastic: Plastic shrink wrap, plastic dry cleaner bags, cling wrap, zip-lock bags, cereal bags, and most other types of clean, dry “plastic film” can be recycled with store bags at your local grocery store, or stores like Target, CVS, Lowes or Walmart.  Just recycle in marked location in the store or inquire within.

Polystyrene (Styrofoam) packaging:  White “Expanded Polystyrene” blocks or forms that are clean and contain no paint or tape, etc. can be saved until you have a quantity, then taken to Shelter Enterprises for free recycling (you can identify polystyrene as “expanded foam” if is composed of numerous tiny foam “beads” and will separate into little balls when broken apart). Phone: 518-237-4100. Address: 8 Saratoga Street, Cohoes (at the north end of Route 787).

Green gift purchases: Sustainable gift ideas include home-made crafts or other gifts; reusable products such as stainless steel water bottles, reusable straws, mason jars, or reusable holiday gift bags or food storage containers or wraps;  sustainably produced clothing; green cleaning services; restaurants and other gift cards, especially to local businesses; food and beverages; house plants; vouchers for experiences; and donations to non-profit organizations.   See the Town's two-page Donating Reusables Brochure for a list of local charities which accept donated items.  NOTE: Many charities have changed their donation rules since the pandemic and since this brochure was last updated so be sure to call ahead before donating.

Shopping recycled: This can be done in the grocery store as well as other stores. Look for items with less packaging or at least recyclable packaging. Remember to bring your cloth bags to the store with you when shopping. Keep in mind, beware of "greenwashing" (false or misleading environmental claims about products)—research claims on the internet, and if terms like “green” or “eco-friendly” aren’t substantiated, then they are probably meaningless.

Wrapping paper:  Consider reusing wrapping paper, tissue paper, and/or using reusable gift bags or even pillow cases as reusable wrapping!  Wrapping paper is NOT usually recyclable paper at this point as it is poor quality paper that is often coated with a plastic layer.  Tissue paper is not recyclable.

Alternatively, at the Town’s Rupert Road Transfer Station, cardboard tubes from wrapping paper can be recycled with cardboard boxes.

Electronics recycling:  Available year-round at the Town's Rupert Road Transfer Station (some fees may apply.)  Most consumer electronics (but not TVs) can also be recycled free at Staples in Glenmont.

Christmas tree recycling (composting):  Set real trees out curbside after the holiday, remove all ornaments and tinsel. No plastic bags please. The Town picks up trees after the holidays.  There is no end date for when you can put trees out for pick up.

Holiday lights: When purchasing new lights, consider energy saving and long-lasting LED lights.  You can also recycle your old broken lights at the Town's Rupert Road Transfer Station.  (NOTE: Light strands only please.  It’s the wires that actually get recycled, not the bulbs.  No separate light bulbs of any kind are accepted at our transfer station.  Fluorescent bulbs of all shapes/sizes can be recycled free at Lowe’s in Glenmont).

Or, HolidayLEDs offers consumers a chance to recycle their old holiday lights by mail and receive a 15% coupon discount on any purchase of new, energy efficient LED holiday lights from their website.  For more information, visit their web site at

Light strands are barely biodegradable (if at all).  Plastic and wire can take hundreds or thousands of years to decompose.  Not to mention the risk to the animals that rummage in and near our landfills.  Just as the plastic rings that bind 6-packs of cola can strangle small creatures, so can Christmas lights, turning a thing of joy in our homes into a killer in nature.  So be careful with holiday light strands as well as decorations such as tinsel which can be hazardous for both pets and wildlife.