It’s the most wonderful time of the year for recycling.
With the spike in packages, shipping, gifts and gatherings, it’s a big time of the year for all kinds of waste. According to some accounts, MSW systems handle 25 percent more waste than normal during the holidays. And the season also bring along with it some items—like holiday lighting and Christmas trees—that consumers may not know how to recycle.
For that reason, some forward-thinking associations, haulers and municipalities are getting in front of consumers with holiday-themed education campaigns to help boost diversion rates.
Keep California Beautiful is using a merry checklist, dubbed “Santa’s ‘Nice’ Recycling List”, the organization has highlighted six common seasonal items and tips for how to recycle them, especially items that are not typically picked up by municipal systems. The list includes holiday lights; wrapping paper; foam #5 packaging, cups and food containers; cardboard; holiday trees and wreaths and beverage containers.
“This holiday season, we want to remind folks to check within their local community to see what can be recycled either curbside or through community drop-off locations,” says Ray Scott, Board President of Keep California Beautiful (KCB). “By recycling, not only will you be helping the environment, you are also helping your local economy by supporting companies that manufacture new products from recycled materials here in California.”
Scott, who works as an administrator at Price Disposal in Kern County, says the grassroots, guy-in-the-red-suit effort is part of a larger effort to further a broad, statewide diversion goal.
“Keep California Beautiful is helping support the state goal of 75 percent diversion by 2020,” Scott says. “As a part of that is an educational component of reaching out to people to let them know what are the proper items to recycle.”
In addition, Scott emphasized, it’s a great time of year for people to gather electronics as many get new devices and appliances for presents.
“The saying I’ve always said is: if it has a plug, it can be recycled,” he says.
With the new calendar year a week away, the recycling reminders are also well timed.
“Typically people start new habits at this time of year so hopefully this will influence their decision to recycle more in 2016,” he says.
Phoenix-based Republic Services has taken a similar approach, compiling a list of seven sustainability tips for the holiday season aimed at helping steer consumers away from hard-to-recycle items like laminated bags and foam. Its tips also include lists of items that can be recycled and ones that are better to reuse or dispose.
It also produced a video for consumers.