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Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year's holiday period than any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons per week.
Here are a few tips that can help you reduce holiday waste.
Remove the lights, ornaments, tinsel and tree stand and place the tree in your organics cart (the lid must close). Smaller Christmas trees may be able to be placed in the organics cart as is. Larger trees may need to be cut in half or have the branches trimmed in order to fit into the cart.
On-Street Yard Material Piles: Remove the lights, ornaments, tinsel and tree stand. Cut trees over 5 ft. tall in half (trees should not be larger than 5 feet in any direction) and place Christmas trees on the street for collection with other yard materials. Please note that yard material piles (and Christmas trees) may only be placed on the street 5 days before a scheduled pick-up. More information about yard material pile pick-up.
Have you ever wondered what would be the best environmental choice--a live Christmas tree, a cut tree or an artificial tree? Here's a look at the factors involved in choosing either option.
- For large, hard to wrap gifts, just add a large fancy bow. Or hide the large unwieldy gift somewhere in the house or yard, and give the person a card with a clue, or a series of clue cards, to lead them to the present.
- Little gifts can be put unwrapped into Christmas stockings.
- Instead of using a gift tag or card, hand write the recipient’s name with a colored pen or pencil, or paint it using watercolors.
- If you use store-bought wrapping paper get the kind with recycled content (the more post-consumer content, the better). Also look for items decorated with biodegradable soy-based inks.
- Avoid buying singing greeting cards. They contain batteries and electrical components that have to be recycled separately from paper.
- Design your own gift-wrap by using grocery or department store bags, or rolls of package wrap. Add decorations such as drawings, stamped patterns, or strings of pine cones. Let kids do the designing.
- Spruce up brown paper wrapping with pretty bows, which can be saved and used for many years.
- Save and reuse wrapping paper, gift boxes and bags. They fold easily and take little room to store in a closet or cabinet.
- Reuse cards as gift tags next year.
- Turn cards into bookmarks and use them as gifts next year.
- Save polystyrene packing "peanuts" and bubble wrap for reuse when shipping presents.
- Bring polystyrene peanuts to Parcel Dispatch PDQ, Postmarks or The UPS Store. These and other shipping companies will accept these materials for reuse.
- Recycle your wrapping paper, gift cards, cardboard boxes, and paperboard gift boxes with mixed paper recycling.
Do your part in recycling your bottles and cans during the busy holiday season and throughout the year.
- Make recycling easy for guests by placing clearly marked bins for bottles and cans next to the garbage bin.
- Reduce the amount of waste by buying beverages in bulk and giving your guests reusable drinking cups.
- In Davis, aluminum cans, tin/steel cans, rigid plastics #1-#7, and glass are accepted for recycling. Please place them in the appropriate recycling container.
When you receive a brand new computer or TV for Christmas, how do you get rid of the old one? It is illegal to throw electronics in the garbage. There are other environmentally friendly ways to get rid of unwanted electronics.
Donate your unwanted electronics to a local charity or thrift store. Check our online Recyclopedia to find locations that accept your used electronics. You can also look in the yellow pages under “Thrift Shops” and “Social and Human Services” for places that may accept items for donation.
Monitors, TVs, cell phones, printers and all electronics are accepted for free recycling at the Yolo County Central Landfill (Road 28H & 104) on a daily basis during normal business hours. The SPCA Thrift Store and Goodwill Donation Xpress also take electronics for recycling.
Other Waste-Reduction ideas for the Holidays
- Skip the wrapping paper and just use a ribbon or yarn around the box or use a reusable bag.
- Buy rechargeable batteries to power up your new electronics. A rechargeable battery can be recharged about 500 times, so they last longer than regular alkaline batteries. Using rechargeable batteries means reducing waste and saving money! Remember to recycle your alkaline and rechargeable batteries!
- Re-gift unwanted items. Donate your unwanted electronics to a local charity or thrift store. Check our online Recyclopedia to find locations that accept your used electronics. You can also look in the yellow pages under “Thrift Shops” and “Social and Human Services” for places that may accept items for donation.
- Buy recycled products. Support recycling efforts by buying products that are made from recycled materials: wrapping paper, cards, clothing, and more!
- Buy in bulk. Whenever possible, buy products in bulk to reduce waste from product packaging.
- Save ribbons and bows. They can be reused next year.
- Bring your own bag when shopping. Reduce the number of shopping bags in landfills! Some stores offer a small refund when you bring your own shopping bags.
- Shop smart. Buy products with the least amount of packaging. Why pay extra for useless, extra packaging materials?
- Use re-usable wrapping. Use gift boxes and reusable bags for gifts instead of wrapping paper. Then reuse the bags and boxes next year!
- Check out the Green Gift Guide for more Green Holiday ideas www.greengiftguide.com
Just for fun...A Holiday Recycling Tale!
The Grinch hated recycling especially during holiday season.
Now please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be a paper cut once caused him great pain.
It could be holiday junk mail drove him insane.
But I think that the most likely reason of all May have been that his recycling bin was two sizes too small.
Whatever the reason, the junk mail or his small bin,
The Grinch chose to make everyone more miserable than him.
I won't pre-rinse: I'll make my recycling smell.
I'll hide garbage in my leaves so no one can tell.
I'll put out my papers on days when it rains.
I'll add in some food waste to cause dirty stains.
I'll recycle all plastics when only 1's and 2's are accepted.
I'll do whatever I want. Who cares if I'm corrected.
I'll throw in some light bulbs, crystal and glass panes.
They say "glass containers" but they're really all the same.
And sometimes I'll simply throw my recycling away.
After all, who is it hurting, if I miss one day.
The collectors struggled to recycle what they could.
But the Grinch's recyclables were simply no good.
Left out on the curb, so full of contamination,
The overflowing bin sometimes littered. Oh, the abomination!
Week after week, the Grinch called the collectors the fools.
When week after week, he himself, broke the rules.
Then one day the Grinch happened to see
That the landfill was filling as fast as could be.
And the Grinch began to ponder the meaning of this
"In a landfill how long would his items exist?"
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
Maybe recycling, he thought, isn't really a chore.
Maybe recycling, he thought, means a little bit more.
In a landfill, the waste items are good for no one
But in recycling, waste items create jobs and so on.
It is good to the earth and good for the community
And he thought that if everyone would recycle in unity
And buy recycled goods when they shopped at the store
And recycle correctly and recycle more...
Then, maybe, perhaps we could make recycling pay
What happened then...well..in California they say
That the Grinch's small brain grew three sizes that day.
And the minute his mind wasn't feeling so maniacal,
He thought of more ways and more reasons to recycle.
And he spread these words to his neighbors and kin:
Recycle correctly and recycle more in your recycling bin.
And to prove that he was dedicated to completing the caper
He himself, the Grinch, switched to recycled-content paper.