By Nicole Nielsen

PLANO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Do you have boxes and wrapping paper sprawled across your living room?

Are you wondering what to do with all the extra trash?

You’re not alone.

Waste centers across the Metroplex are experiencing one of their busiest weeks of the year, including Republic Services’ recycling center of Plano.

“A lot of folks mean well when they recycle, but a lot of the items can cause more harm than good,” said Ben Ayers, an operational manager for the facility.

They say it’s common for folks around the metroplex to be unsure about what to recycle from their holiday celebrations. Which results in guessing.

“We do see additional garbage in our recycling stream over the holidays and that’s just a result of people being hopeful when they throw things into the recycling bin that it’s recyclable,” General Manager Amy Adcos said.

The Plano-based operation says over the holidays their half a million customers dispose of an extra estimated 1,000 pounds of waste each.

Oftentimes that waste includes things they can’t recycle like Christmas lights or electronics.

“Recycling is extremely easy. It just starts with knowing what to throw. We have cardboard, paper, you’re number 1, 2 and 5 plastics, along with your steel cans. As long as you know what to throw it becomes easy to do it on a daily basis,” Ayers said.

Over the holidays they say recycle what you can, including flattened boxes and wrapping paper.

Its also important to dispose of your trees properly and not through your recycle program. This often differs by municipality so check with your city on proper guidelines.

They also say to organize your food waste. None of it should be recycled in your bin, but it is encouraged to compost what you can.

Even better, they were quite a few holiday items in your home they say you should consider reusing such as boxes, wrapping paper, bows, ribbons and tissue paper.

They say it will not only help cut down on your waste this year, but can help reduce your carbon footprint next year.

Nicole Nielsen