Greening the Holiday Season
Contact: Cathy Hall - Pitkin County Solid Waste Manager - 429-2882
Americans throw away 25% more waste between the Thanksgiving and New Years holidays than they do the rest of the year so Pitkin County Solid Waste Center is offering tips to reduce waste to make the holiday season here more “green.” One million tons of additional trash gets thrown away every week over the holidays nationwide. Pitkin County would like to “buck the trend” and reduce holiday waste that would otherwise end up in the landfill.
“There are ways to reduce waste over the holidays and not be a Grinch,” said Solid Waste Center Manager, Cathy Hall. “Simple steps such as changing how gifts are wrapped, reducing food waste, and even giving a Christmas tree a second life are possible,” Hall said.
Tip for Reducing Holiday Waste from Pitkin County:
- Holiday Lights: Switch to LED lights, they are more energy efficient and will last longer. Recycle string lights, that are broken or no longer needed, at the Rio Grande Recycling Center (through February) or the Pitkin County Landfill. Look for the bins designated for holiday lights.
- Wrapping and Packaging: Traditional wrapping paper is low quality and not recyclable. Craft paper (brown butcher paper) wrapped with natural twine is recyclable. Use reusable bags or cloth to wrap presents. Recycle or reuse cardboard boxes. Save bows and ribbons and reuse for next year. Styrofoam packaging and bubble wrap is not recyclable, save and reuse for future shipping and packaging needs.
- Reduce Food Waste: Food waste makes up 17% of waste in the Pitkin County Landfill. Prevent waste by carefully planning your menu. If there are leftovers, encourage guests to take some home. Package leftovers in reusable containers or recyclable aluminum foil. Freeze what you can for later. Compost any remaining food waste at the Pitkin County Landfill. Visit LandfillRules.com for information on our SCRAPS Food Waste Compost program. Reduce waste by serving food on reusable plates and glassware, or choose compostable serve ware—but make sure to compost those plates and cups.
- Christmas Trees: Christmas trees can be given a second life through composting. Trees and wreaths that are free of tinsel, garland, lights, metal, and decorations can be dropped off for composting in many communities after the holidays, including the Rio Grande Recycling Center and the Pitkin County Landfill. Trees can be dropped off for composting at the Rio Grande Recycling Center Dec. 24 - Feb 15 and at the Pitkin County Landfill.
- Other Holiday Zero-Waste Tips: Batteries- Many games and toys require batteries, consider rechargeable batteries. Over 15 billion alkaline batteries are produced worldwide and are tossed after one use. Recycle your alkaline batteries at the Rio Grande Recycling Center or at the Pitkin County Household Hazardous Waste Facility, look for the specially marked bins. Greeting Cards– Use old cards to make gift tags. Recycle old greeting cards in with your regular single stream recycling. Electronics- Many of us will get new electronics and cell phones for the holidays. Recycle your old and unwanted electronics and cell phones year round at the Pitkin County Landfill. There is a nominal fee for recycling electronic waste.
For more information on how and what to recycle, contact the Pitkin County Solid Waste Center at 970-429-2880 or visit the webpage at LandfillRules.com