Recycle tips for the 2020 holiday season

Lee County Solid Waste has tips for residents for the holiday season so you can recycle, know what can be repurposed, and also know what needs to go in the trash bin.

Lee County’s waste stream generally increases about 20% during the holidays, but taking even a few small steps can help reduce waste generated in your home.

Gobble up your turkey and dispose of the oil: Deep-fried turkey is a holiday tradition for many Florida families.  Residents can safely and responsibly dispose of any leftover cooking oil at no charge.  Put the used oils or grease in sealed, unbreakable, leak-proof containers. Take it to the Lee County Household Chemical Waste Facility, 6441 Topaz Court in Fort Myers.  Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The site also is open two upcoming Saturdays – Dec. 5 and Jan. 9 – from 8 a.m. to noon.

What happens to the oil?  The used cooking oil can be refined and reused for power generation or heating.

Recycle the usuals:

Aluminum and tin cans, glass bottles and jars, plastic containers can be recycled if:

  • The plastic containers are labeled #1 through #7
  • Boxes did not contain a liquid
  • They are empty, clean and dry.

What about the paper plates, used napkins and plastic utensils? They go in the trash.

Wrap it well and then …

  • Think about which gift bags, boxes, tissues and bows you could potentially store and reuse next holiday season.  Break down your shipping boxes and gift boxes and place them in your recycling bin. Put used wrapping paper in your recycling bin unless it has a metallic finish.

What about packing materials?

  • Air pockets and bubble wrap are not recyclable in your home recycling cart. Put them in your trash can or check availability to recycle them at some area grocery stores.

Oh Tannenbaum – what to do with the tree:

  • Be sure to remove the tree stand, lights, decoration and tinsel.
  • Broken and burned out strands of lights go in the trash.
  • Set green Christmas trees out with your yard waste.
  • Trees will be ground for use as mulch or compost.

What about flocked trees?

  • Those trees with that snow-covered look cannot be recycled due to the white, powdery mixture on their branches. Put them with your trash.

For more information about recycling and waste disposal, contact Lee County Solid Waste at 239-533-8000 or visit