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Holiday Recycling Program

’Tis the season...for RECYCLING! The Holiday season is one of the best times of year to Get Behind Recycling! By recycling all of your holiday gift materials and party supplies, you can help your community and city be more sustainable. Every holiday season, tons and tons of valuable recycling materials are diverted from the landfill by your efforts. So, wherever you are during the holidays…remember to Get Behind Recycling!

If you're earning Philadelphia Recycling Rewards points, now's a great time to redeem your points for holiday gifts and store discounts. Just CLICK HERE to check your point totals and participating stores. And if you're not signed up yet, now's the perfect time!

From presents to parties, there is a wealth of material to recycle. Check below list to see what materials can go IN and OUT of your bin this season.


What You CAN Recycle


Emptied and rinsed – caps are OK
  • All Food and Beverage Containers
  • Hard Plastic Takeout Containers
  • Plastic Cold Drink Cups and Lids
  • Detergent and Shampoo Bottles
  • Pump and Spray Bottles
  • Plastic Pails, Buckets, Garden Pots


  • Newspapers and Inserts
  • ​Magazines, Brochures, and Catalogs
  • Junk Mail, Envelopes, Writing Paper
  • Scrap Paper
  • Paper Bags
  • Phone Books
  • Paperback Books
  • Greeting Cards, Gift Wrap (non-metallic)


Emptied and rinsed
  • Milk 
  • Juice
  • Ice Cream
  • Wine 
  • Soups


Emptied and rinsed
  • Aluminum, Steel, and Tin Cans
  • Empty Paint Cans
  • Empty Aerosol Cans
  • Metal Trays and Baking Dishes
  • Jar Lids and Bottle Caps
  • Clean Aluminum Foil


Emptied and rinsed – caps are OK
  • All Bottles and Jars


Flattened and free of grease and food
  • Corrugated Cardboard Shipping Boxes
  • Clean Pizza Boxes
  • Paper Towel Rolls
  • Egg Cartons
  • Dry Food Boxes

What to Keep OUT of the Bin

These materials have little or no value as raw materials, damage recycling equipment, and injure workers. Please leave them out!

  • Plastic Bags
  • Styrofoam™ Food/Beverage Containers and Shipping/Packing Material
  • Food Waste
  • Wet or Food-Soiled Paper
  • Waxed Paper Plates, Cups, and Takeout Containers
  • Greasy Pizza Boxes
  • Tissues, Paper Towels, and Napkins
  • Light Bulbs
  • Porcelain and Non-Container Glass
  • Cassette Tapes (VHS and audio)
  • Garden Hoses
  • Needles and Syringes
  • Electronics

Christmas Tree Recycling Program

The program, which is in it’s 27th year, will run for two weeks from Monday, January 4, 2016 through Saturday, January 16, 2016. As always, citizens may drop off their trees for recycling at any of the following Streets Department Sanitation Convenience Centers Monday through Saturday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm:


Streets Department
Sanitation Convenience Centers

3901 N Delaware Ave.

5100 Grays Ave.

2601 West Glenwood Avenue

3033 South 63rd Street

Domino Lane and Umbria Street

State Road and Ashburner Street

For Sanitation Convenience Center details, CLICK HERE

Saturday drop-off locations

The Streets Department is pleased to announce there will also be Christmas tree drop off sites located throughout the city at 23 designated locations only on Saturday, January 9 and Saturday, January 16 from 9am to 3pm. To find the location nearest to you, CLICK HERE

Christmas trees brought to these sites should be:

  • Free of all decorations and ornaments
  • Untied

What happens to the recycled Christmas trees? 

There will be no curbside collection of Christmas trees for recycling purposes. For those households that cannot participate in the recycling program, trees placed at the curb will be picked up on regularly scheduled collection day as trash.

As always, the program is for citizens who receive City collected trash and recycling services. Vendors are responsible for making arrangements for the private disposal of their discarded trees.

Citizens who require additional information regarding the Christmas Tree Recycling Program may contact the Customer Affairs Unit at 215-686-5560. For all city services, call 3-1-1.

What Else Can I Do with My Tree?

  • Residents may purchase potted trees and plant them after the holidays.
  • Small pine limbs and needles are good winter mulch material for sensitive plants.
  • Trees can also become backyard compost.
  • Trees should not be burned in a fireplace. The sap from the tree creates foul odors and can coat the chimney with creosote which can cause a fire.
  • Civic associations often offer additional drop-off locations. Check with your local civic association on their Christmas tree recycling programs.