Did you know that the volume of trash generally increases by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Years? Help reduce that waste with some easy reducing and recycling holiday tips. 

furoshiki--gift wrapping with fabric Instead of wrapping paper, use a scarf to wrap the gift to make it two gifts in one! Learn how using this guide here. You can also use the gift as an opportunity to get creative with the wrapping. For example, if the person you are buying for is an avid gardener, wrap the gift in a watering can or other gardening related gift. Or, if the person you are buying for loves cooking, wrap the present in a cooking apron or mixing bowl.  
gift wrap using old maps Unfortunately, certain types of wrapping paper are not recyclable. Instead, try wrapping gifts in recyclable paper or go a for a more creative option. Old maps add visual interest. You can also wrap gifts with the funnies for some colorful fun.
rosin-paper gift wrap Make your own gift wrap: get a roll of rosin paper from your local hardware store (or use brown paper grocery bags), and a holiday themed rubber stamp and ink pad from a craft store. Cut the paper to size for each gift and stamp a pattern on it before wrapping. The result is a homey and 100% recyclable wrapping paper!
magazine gift bow Gift toppers can be eco-friendly, too. Make a bow out of a magazine page. Decorate from nature with a pinecone or evergreen sprig. Or, look in your pantry— tie a cinnamon stick or candy cane for a delicious detail!

Other tips for having an eco-friendly holiday season:

  • If you are hosting for the holidays, try to avoid making too much food. Use everything up by getting creative with your leftovers, and don't forget that pretty much all foods can be frozen. For more information about wasted food, visit our Reduce Food Waste page and check out SaveTheFood.com for other tips. 

  • String lights and cords for your house and tree can be recycled once they break or you no longer want them. Bring them to a local lights recycling location or to The Recycling Zone for free.
  • If you get new electronics for the holidays (such as a computer, TV, cell phone or stereo), you can bring your old ones to The Recycling Zone to be recycled. TVs and computer monitors are $10 each to drop-off, all other electronics are FREE. They also accept small household electric items such as coffee makers, toasters and blenders.
  • Once the holidays are over, bring live greenery such as garlands, wreaths or trees to a yard waste site. Go to our yard waste site directory for a list of sites open year-round. Or, call your garbage hauler to find out about having your tree picked up at the curb.
  • Gift-giving can create a lot of waste so this year, try gifting an experience. For example, if the person you are shopping for loves music, take them to a concert or holiday show. Other ideas including ski passes, a paint night, cooking classes, or a membership to a local gym or club. Experiential gifts create lasting memories that your loved ones are sure to enjoy. If you do decide to buy gifts, make sure to get something that is made to last and of course don't forget to recycle! Here’s a list of what can and can’t go in your recycling bin after you open those presents:


NOT Recyclable

May Be Recyclable*

Cardboard boxes

Paper wrapping paper

Greeting cards and envelopes (for musical cards, bring the electronic part to The Recycling Zone)

NO Styrofoam

NO Packing peanuts

NO Tissue paper

NO Glittery or metallic wrapping paper

NO Gift bows or ribbons

NO Plastic toys

Clear plastic packaging (such as from toys)

Plastic bags (bring back to retailer) 


*Check to see what your hauler accepts for recycling by visiting our Curbside Recycling Guide and clicking on your garbage company's logo.

Contact Us

City Education Department
13713 Frontier Court
Burnsville, MN 55337-3817
Phone: 952-895-4559

Dakota Valley Recycling

DVR is the partnership recycling department for the Cities of Apple Valley, BurnsvilleEagan and Lakeville that connects residents and businesses to recycling, composting and waste disposal information.

DVR is not a drop off facility and does not accept any materials for recycling.