Holiday recycling tips from the TCSD
-From the Templeton Community Services District-
Though almost 90% of Americans believe holidays should be less focused on gifts and more so on spending time with loved ones, this does not stop people from creating trash. From gift wrap to colorful strings of lights to trees, the holiday season is one during which the most waste is produced.
Approximately 1.5 billion cards are mailed over the holiday season in the United States alone, requiring a remarkable number of 300,000 new trees to be harvested every year. Moreover, 33 million live holiday trees are sold in the U.S. annually according to the EPA. About 40% of all battery sales in the U.S. occur during the holidays.
‘Tis the season for Templeton residents to put more consideration in the environmental aspect of gift-giving and receiving. The following tips can help you enhance your resourcefulness and your “green” level.
1. Make your gatherings zero-waste by ditching disposable dishes and cutlery, unless you buy compostable or biodegradable dishware.
2. Look for recycled-content products and buy recycled greeting cards. Remember to recycle any paper cards you receive if you decide not to keep them. Reduce waste by skipping out on tissue papers, bows, and ribbons.
3. Instead of buying rolls on rolls of new wrapping paper, consider wrapping gifts in recycled or reused wrapping paper. Get creative by wrapping them up in newspaper, maps, posters, etc, providing a distinctive touch. Another creative way to give a gift is by putting it in a reusable bag, enhancing the gift’s uniqueness. The bag may count as part of the gift, as the receiver can save it and use it for future trips to the grocery store or as needed.
4. Consider products’ durability when searching for gifts. Not only will a durable gift last longer and avoid becoming part of the landfill, but your money will not be spent on a gift that easily wears down.
5. There are a few alternatives to cutting down and disposing of trees. For example, you can buy a potted tree and plant it once the holidays are over which can be a fun family activity. Mid-State Solid Waste will be collecting trees on regularly scheduled collection days – make sure you remove all tinsel and decorations, cut the trees into 4-foot or smaller lengths, and place them in your green waste cart.
6. Consider going LED on holiday lights. LED lights decrease energy use by 80% and generally last longer, as compared to incandescent lights. Remember to turn off and unplug lights during the day and don’t forget to recycle old lights.
7. Buying rechargeable batteries to accompany electronic gifts and giving a battery charger along with the gift shows you put extra thought towards the gift, while reflecting your concern for sustainability.
Any questions on recycling during the holidays may be directed to the Maria Kisyova, Conservation Intern, at the Templeton Community Services District Office at (805) 434-4900. For more information on holiday recycling, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website at www.epa.gov/wastes/wycd/winter.htm.