Ten ways to reduce holiday waste

Cristie Snyder, program officer at the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Management District, offers these tips for reducing holiday waste this season:

Ohioans and other Americans traditionally put 25 percent more trash at their curbs in the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years--mostly wrapping paper, ribbons, party decorations and mail-order catalogs. Overall, Americans generate about 1,000,000 extra tons of trash per week during that same time period, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Here are some tips for reducing the amount of trash you throw away this holiday season:

  1. Christmas trees--Each year, 10 million Christmas trees end up in the landfill. Locally, communities offer programs to turn your tree to mulch or wood chips. See a list of options at www.cuyahogaswd.org.
  2. Christmas cards--Send your cards to St. Jude's Ranch, a nonprofit home for youths that collects old holiday cards for reuse. Children at St. Jude's earn money by creating new holiday cards from the old. Visit www.stjudesranch.org/shop/recycled-card-program/.
  3. Gift wrap and gift boxes--Gift wrap, holiday cards and boxes that are 100 percent paper can be recycled. Foil, plastic coating and glitter cannot be put into recycle bins.
  4. Pass it on!--Donate unwanted clothes, toys, and other unwanted items to non-profit organizations that accept donations. Check out our searchable database of local donation opportunities at  www.cuyahogaswd.org/en-US/pass-it-on.aspx.
  5. BYOB(ag)--Take a cloth tote bag when shopping for the holidays to avoid bringing home an armload of plastic or paper sacks.
  6. Cell phones--If you're getting a hot, new phone for the holidays, recycle the old one at your point of purchase.  AT&T, Best Buy, Verizon, Radio Shack, Staples and other retailers offer recycling services in store.
  7. Energy-saving holiday lights--Decorate your house with LED lights that use 90 percent less energy than conventional holiday lights. Recycle the old lights through www.holidayleds.com.
  8. Styrofoam--Recycle formed Styrofoam pieces at Buckeye Industries, 33851 Curtis Boulevard, Suite 207 in Eastlake. Buckeye Industries will take formed #6 EPS from individuals as well as businesses as long as its not contaminated with food or chemicals. For more information, call 440-942-1605.
  9. Batteries--Alkaline batteries are non-hazardous and should be disposed in the regular trash. Instead, purchase and use rechargeable batteries whenever possible. Places to recycle rechargeable batteries are everywhere. Find a list at www.rbrc.com.
  10. Food--Rather than throwing the excess food away, donate leftovers to a local food pantry or organization that feeds the needy. See www.clevelandfoodbank.org.

A complete list of tips for reducing holiday waste is available at www.cuyahogaswd.org/en-US/greening-holidays.aspx.

The Solid Waste Management District is a public agency that works to promote environmentally-sustainable and economical solid waste management practices within the communities, institutions and businesses of Cuyahoga County. The district offers a wide variety of services designed to increase recycling opportunities, divert waste from landfills, promote environmental awareness, and support local recycling-based businesses.

To learn more about the Solid Waste Management District, visit www.cuyahogaswd.org or call 216- 443-3749.

Adapted from Press Release

This story was adapted from a news release.

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Volume 5, Issue 1, Posted 10:02 AM, 12.20.2011