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Holiday Waste Glut Illustrates the Challenges Posed by California’s Waste Reduction Goals

A good portion of what should be recyclable gets spoiled because residents aren’t properly sorting their trash.

A report from KAZU about how much extra waste gets generated during the holiday months illustrates the broader challenges California is facing in attempting to divert waste from landfills.

By the year 2020, California aims to keep 75 percent of its waste out of landfills.

But a good portion of what should be recyclable gets spoiled because residents aren’t properly sorting their trash.

The story has more:

This is the busiest time of year at the district.  You can see why as the remnants of the holidays tumble out of Hernandez’s truck into a big pile.

“We’re getting a lot of wrapping paper, a lot of boxes,” Hernandez says.

Even though these are recyclables, a good amount of it will end up in the landfill. Angela Goebel says that’s because many people don’t recycle properly. She’s the district’s Public Education and Outreach Specialist. 

She says one common mistake is putting used wrapping paper, ribbons, and boxes into a plastic bag to keep everything tidy.

“If a worker on a recycling sorting line sees a plastic bag full of recyclables, they’re going to pull it off as trash. They don’t have time to go through it and see what’s in the bag. And for safety reasons, they can’t stick their hand in a plastic bag,” says Goebel.

She says it’s also common to see packages from online shopping with the Styrofoam and bubble wrap still in them.
Read the full story here.

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