MOUNT GILEAD — During the holidays, Americans throw away 25 percent more trash than any other time of year. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, an additional 1 million tons of waste is thrown out each week. Much of what will be tossed out after the holidays is recyclable or can be reused, and with a little bit of effort, residents can reduce the amount of waste generated throughout the holiday season.
Wrapping materials such as ribbon and wrapping paper are one of the largest quantities of materials that end up in the trash during the holiday season. Most Christmas wrapping papers are not recyclable, especially if they are made of foil or metallic materials.
Actually, in Morrow County, all wrapping paper is not recyclable. A friendly alternative is to ask for a paper shopping bag the next time you are at the grocery store. Wrap your gifts and have fun drawing your own designs for a fun new holiday activity that is also environmentally friendly. Add your homemade gift tag from last year’s Christmas cards.
How about that pretty ribbon? Each year 38,000 miles of ribbon alone is thrown out nationwide; which is enough to tie a bow around the Earth! Re-use ribbons, bows, gift bags, and boxes whenever you can. Think about the impact if every family in the U.S. re-used just 2 feet of holiday ribbon.
Other waste reduction ideas include less is more. Fill your gift list with practical needed items or even make homemade gifts utilizing sustainable materials. Not into making your own DIY gift? Try to shop locally. Often you can pick-up great eco-friendly gifts plus you are supporting your local community and local economy.
Residents can give the gift that keeps on giving by recycling right. Most of your gifts will be packaged in a cardboard box. These packaging products can be reused and remade into post-consumer material. Any time of the year is a perfect time to practice your green recycling habits. Make recycling during Christmas a new holiday tradition for your family.
After the holidays, don’t throw your real Christmas tree or holiday wreaths in the trash. Real trees and wreaths are biodegradable, which means they can be easily reused or recycled for mulch and other purposes. Here are some recycling options and tips on what to do with your tree after the holidays.
Take your tree to the County compost facility located at Township Road 127 (rear of water treatment plant on the back side fairgrounds). The facility accommodates all yard waste: leaves, grass clippings, trees, shrubs, and branches. No trash, food scraps, barn or animal waste, or household items are to be dropped off! Violators will be prosecuted.
This time of the year is Christmas tree drop-off. Make sure to remove all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel strands are removed.
Other alternative ways to use your Christmas tree:
• Yard waste: Cut the tree to fit loosely into your yard waste container.
• Fish feeders: Sink it into your private fish pond. Trees make an excellent refuge and feeding area for fish.
• Bird feeders: Place the Christmas tree in the garden or backyard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter. (Make sure all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel strands are removed). Eventually (within a year) the branches will become brittle and you can break the tree apart by hand or chip it in a chipper.
• Mulch: A Christmas tree is biodegradable; its branches may be removed, chipped, and used as mulch in the garden.
Morrow County Recycling and Keep Morrow County Beautiful challenged businesses to take a Recycle Challenge during the month of November. According to the US EPA on average, Americans generated 4.48 pounds of waste per person per day and only recycle 1.51 pounds per day. Often recycling is well established within our homes, however many of us spend 6-8 hours at the workplace where recycling options may not be as welcomed.
The goal of the Recycling Challenge was to encourage businesses to take a closer look at their waste stream. Participating businesses were evaluated based on the pounds of recycling per employee per day.
OSU Extension-Morrow County won the challenge with 1.9 pounds of recyclables/employee/day. Morrow County Recorder followed with 1 pound/employee/day and Cardington-Lincoln Public Library with .9 pounds/person/day.
Other businesses completing the challenge include Morrow County Auditor, Morrow County Hospital and The Tomorrow Center.