Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle During the Best Time of Year!

The “most wonderful time of the year” is also the most wasteful.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Years Day than any other time of the year.

Whether you are shopping, decorating, cooking or giving a gift, Allyson Mitchell, executive director with the Indiana Recycling Coalition, suggests looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.

She noted cardboard boxes are easier to recycle if they are flattened. With holiday cards, Mitchell recommends being selective about how many you send, or send an electronic greeting instead.

Unwanted holiday decorations and lights can be donated instead of tossed into the trash.

With gifts, Mitchell suggests reusing magazines and newspapers or purchasing recycled paper to wrap your gifts. You can also put a gift in something that can be reused.

“For example, gift bags can be reused many, many times before they have to be disposed of; also durable, decorative boxes,” she said. “Or get creative in how you wrap items with non-traditional, durable re-usable things, like fabric.”

The EPA said about 28 billion pounds of food waste is thrown away each holiday season, so plan the meal ahead of time and don’t cook extra.

The Monroe County Waste Management District provides FREE holiday tree recycling at its five Recycling

Trees accepted for recycling from December 26th through January 12th. NO artificial trees accepted.

Residents need to remove all ornaments, tinsel, lights, and hooks.

If you have space, it’s best to compost holiday trees in your yard. They make great shelter areas for wildlife and they return valuable nutrients into the earth.

According to the University of Illinois Extension “Christmas Tree Facts” web page, 93 percent of real Holiday tree
consumers recycle their tree in their garden, backyard, or one of over 4,000 community recycling programs.

Old Christmas trees have been used to make sand and soil erosion barriers, and in lakes and ponds for fish shelter.

Today 98 percent of all Christmas trees are grown on more than 15,000 Holiday tree farms, and this industry employs approximately 100,000 people.

One acre of Christmas trees provides the daily oxygen requirements of 18 people, and there are 350,000 acres of land growing approximately 350 million Christmas trees across all 50 states.

Artificial trees have an average useful lifespan of 5-7 years and last for hundreds of years in a landfill.