With parties, decorations, gift giving and travel, Americans waste generation per household increases 25 percent, or almost 1,000 pounds of trash, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Remarkably, roughly 80 percent of what is thrown away during the holidays could be recycled or repurposed, according to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The most common non-recyclables contaminating the recycling waste stream during the holiday season include bubble wrap, cellophane, string/rope, ribbons and bows, batteries, food, clothing, cell phones and Styrofoam and other forms of polystyrene foam.
Remember that when it comes to toy packaging, both the cardboard and the plastic are recyclable, but they must be separated from one another. That includes the plastic window on the box of a doll or action figure. Sticky gift tags are not recyclable by themselves, but they are acceptable if fixed to an envelope or wrapping paper.
Check with your local recycling and waste collection service provider or solid waste authority to confirm what items can be recycled curbside or through the community drop-off this season. Republic also recommends checking in advance for any changes to your holiday collection date or time and special instructions for disposing of Christmas trees.
This holiday season, Republic Services, Inc. encourages consumers across the country to incorporate environmentally responsible practices into celebrations and family gatherings with five simple tips.
“The holiday season can be a hectic time of year for just about everyone,” said Pete Keller, vice president of recycling and sustainability at Republic Services. “Many of us want to be more sustainable during the holidays, but we aren’t sure how or we just don’t have the time. These five easy tips can help each of us to do our part to make environmentally responsible choices throughout the holiday season and help make a positive impact in our communities for generations to come.”
Republic’s Five Holiday Sustainability Tips:
- When giving holiday gifts, commit to reusing laminated bags and recycling those made of paper.
- Shipping gifts? Make shredded paper out of old newspapers and be sure to reuse last year’s bubble wrap and Styrofoam peanuts.
- After opening gifts, remember to recycle the wrapping paper – even the shiny stuff – but save and reuse the ribbons and bows.
- Getting a new device this holiday season? Make sure your old phone or tablet does not get tossed in with the recycling. Check with your local service provider on any special instructions or electronics recycling options.
- Enjoy that holiday latte, just remember the paper cup, plastic lid and paper sleeve should be Empty, Clean & Dry before tossing them into the recycling container.