Earlier this week, we took a look at how members of the waste and recycling industry prepare their fleets, landfills and materials recovery facilities (MRFs) for the glut of waste generated by the holiday shopping season.
Nashville Public Radio examined the same issue on a local level, with a profile of the city’s operations as it deals with volumes 20 percent greater than the rest of the year.
The days after Christmas are the biggest culprits, says Sharon Smith with Metro Public Works.
"There's more of everything," she says. "People have had stuff mailed to them. Obviously, there's gift exchange."
Part of that spike comes from the influx of cardboard boxes. Part also comes from wrapping paper on gifts: Americans bought $7.5 billion dollars worth of it this year, according to Sundale Research.
But even though Metro's recycling service does accept most wrapping paper, some industry experts don't recommend it. Compared to normal paper, gift wrap is particularly low quality: It's thin and inky, so it's often more trouble than it's worth for a paper mill to extract the fibers.