Environmental Health
Healthy Home Environment
Household Hazardous Materials
  Household Hazardous Materials  

Holiday Recycling Tips


During the holidays, Americans throw away 25 percent more trash than any other time of year. From Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, an additional 1 million tons of waste is thrown out each week!

Here are a few environmentally friendly suggestions you can do to help reduce waste during the holiday season.


When buying battery-powered products, choose those that operate on solar power. (Or better yet, choose ones that require no power at all.) And remember, when buying electronic toys or other portable gifts, include rechargeable batteries with them.

Most batteries can be brought to HazoHouse. However, HazoHouse no longer accepts alkaline batteries and has a limit of 3 car batteries per residential customer, per day.  To find the location of a battery recycler that accepts alkaline and other batteries, refer to the Where Do I Take My?... (Solid Waste) website.  Portable rechargeable batteries can also be dropped off at many retail locations throughout Thurston County.  To find a location near you, see either the Where Do I Take My?... or the Call2Recycle® website. 

Some batteries (rechargeable, NiCad, lithium, silver oxide, button) can retain a charge; to prevent any problems while storing or transporting the used batteries, place them individually in a sealed plastic bag, or tape (use electrical, duct, or masking) the terminals.


Avoid purchasing necklaces that contain mercury. Some necklaces from Mexico have a fragile glass pendant with liquid silver mercury and sometimes other colorful liquids. This jewelry, and any other products with mercury, should not be kept—bring them to HazoHouse. For additional information on mercury, see Mercury in Home Products.

Gift Wrap

Generally gift wrap is non-toxic, but some foil and colored gift-wrap and ribbons may contain lead. Do not burn these products, and do not let babies chew on them. Some wrapping paper can be recycled; better yet, save and reuse.

Holiday Lights

Bubble lights contain a small amount of methylene chloride, a hazardous chemical also found in paint remover. Keep away from children, as these lights with their bright colors and bubbling movement can tempt curious children to break the candle-shaped glass. Bring to HazoHouse for disposal.

Light strands, both for indoor or outdoor use, may contain lead in the PVC wire coating. The lead can rub off on hands and then be swallowed. Some strands have labels saying they contain lead, in accordance with California’s Proposition 65 law. This law requires products to carry warning labels if they are “known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.” Since these labels are not found on all light strands, the absence of a label does not mean it is lead-free. Assume all light strands have some lead: have children and adults wash their hands with soap and water after handling lighting and before eating.

Used Cooking Oil

Thinking of frying a turkey over the holidays? Perhaps you'll whip up a batch of jelly-filled doughnuts and some latkes for Hanukkah? Or, maybe you're planning something unconventional like a fish fry and clam strips to highlight the area's bounty for your out-of-town guests? If these, or any other fried delicacy, will be featured on your holiday table, you'll likely have large amounts of used cooking oil that you won't know what to do with.

Don't let this be a source of holiday stress! Now, you can take your used cooking oil to HazoHouse for recycling. And don't worry, you've got plenty of time to get it there; used cooking oil is accepted year-round!

Let the oil cool completely, screen it through cheese cloth or a coffee filter to remove any food residue, and return it to its original container. Take your used cooking oil to HazoHouse Friday through Tuesday from 8 am to 5 pm. Please do not place your used cooking oil in the motor oil collection tank.

Used cooking oil taken to HazoHouse is collected by General Biodiesel, who transports the oil to their Seattle facility, where it is refined and recycled into biodiesel. General Biodiesel fuels are sold and distributed regionally.

For additional information, click here or call (360) 867-2664.

Other Green Holiday Links

Hot Topics
Popular Pages & Links
Fluorescent Bulbs

Dispose of Hazardous Materials


(recorded line)

Open Daily
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Gates close at 4:45 p.m.

View Map
  • Household Hazardous
    Materials & Education

  • Email
    Your Questions or Comments
This page last updated: 01/28/22