The holidays are a great time to spend with friends and family. But, it isn't a great time for the environment. All of those gifts, tend to generate a lot of trash.
At the Monroe County Recycling Center, they are gearing up for one of the busiest times of the year. Mike Garland is the Director of Monroe County's Department of Environmental Services. He says, "we see a significant increase in volume this time of year, roughly about 300 tons."
Most of that has to do with the packaging gifts come in or are put in. "Certainly we'll see wrapping paper. We'll see Christmas cards, discarded Christmas cards. We'll see the packaging toys and gifts come in. As well as what they're delivered in," adds Garland.
Between Thanksgiving and New Years, the average household increases trash output by 25% and more and more of that is coming here to the recycling center.
Jeff Myers is the General Manager of U.S. Operations for Cascades Recovery. He says, "most of the material that comes in here gets separated through a variety of automated and manual sort systems and from there it gets packaged and sent to paper mills where they make new packaging out of it."
Of course first, it has to get to the recycling center. Often times fitting the overflow into your bins is the tricky part. The best advice is to spread it out over a few weeks. Make sure you break down items to dimensions your hauler will accept. And, organize it a little.
Garland says, "instead of crumpling up all of that wrapping paper which really increases the volume. Fold it. Much of that material has already been recycled too. So we really want that material back."
Because the paper mills need it to make next year's party supplies.
Myers adds, "wrapping paper usually goes to other paper products, paper plates other materials like that. Everybody needs paper plates so there's always going to be a recycling home for wrapping paper."
If you have questions about what can and what cannot be recycled. Click here.