Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the volume of garbage we generate rises dramatically. The average family throws away 25% more trash during the holidays, according to statistics from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, there are ways to protect the environment and keep the holiday cheer. You can make holiday gatherings more sustainable by using real dishware and silverware, wrapping gifts with reusable cloth or gift bags and planning meals to reduce food waste.
Reuse and recycle
Before throwing away something, ask yourself: could this trash be reused or recycled?
Recyclable items include: gift boxes, tissue paper, greeting cards/envelopes, cartons, tins, and most cleaned aluminum foil trays.
Do not place recyclable materials in plastic bags before recycling them. Such materials will not be processed at the recycling facility. You can use a paper bag to collect recycling, but its best to place everything in your cart loose.
Do not recycle wrapping paper. It is no longer accepted, even the paper that isn’t reflective or glittery. Do not recycle food and beverage containers that contain food or liquid.
To recycle holiday lights, bring them to the Hennepin County Drop-Off Facility, 1400 West 96th Street.
Tips for extra recycling
Extra recycling accumulates quickly during the holidays. After you fill your recycling cart with recyclable materials, you can place any leftover recyclable materials next to the cart. Place smaller recyclable items in paper bags before putting next to the recycling cart. Cardboard should be flattened and stacked into a pile no larger than three feet wide and one foot tall. Bundle the stacked cardboard with string or twine and place next to your cart. If you regularly have extra recycling, you can request a second recycling cart at no cost. For more information, visit blm.mn/recycling.
Compost with organics recycling
You can also reduce waste by composting food and paper waste generated from holiday meals and gatherings. Take your food, prep scraps, leftovers and paper towels to an organics drop-off location listed at blm.mn/organics.
For more information about how to properly dispose of items, visit blm.mn/recycling or call 952-563-8760.