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On average, Raleigh residents produce about 3,000 tons of garbage each week. That number jumps dramatically to 3,750 tons per week during the holiday period, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.
To reduce the amount of waste taken to the landfill, the City of Raleigh Solid Waste Services (SWS) Department and the City’s curbside recycling program, Raleigh Recycling, are encouraging residents to follow holiday waste reduction tips. SWS and Raleigh Recycling have joined other agencies in issuing these tips so everyone can enjoy a “Green” Christmas. Actually many of the tips can be used throughout the year, not just the holidays.
The holiday waste reduction tips are thorough and cover a variety of topics. These include holiday decorations, parties, holiday food, holiday cards, gift wrapping, enviro-shopping, gift giving, green gift ideas, gifts of time, gifts of charity, gifts for grandparents, homemade gifts, homemade gifts/non-homemade gifts made from reused materials and decorations, zero budget gifts, mailing packages, changing gift giving traditions, and energy savings.
To view all of the holiday waste reduction tips offered by SWS and Raleigh Recycling, visit the City of Raleigh’s website at www.raleighnc.gov.
Here are a few of the tips:
* Decorate your home, tree and centerpiece with
holly, cedar, berries, cranberries, popcorn, fruits and nuts, all of which can be composted or used for bird food after use;
* To add a special touch to your decorating consider using memorabilia such as a child’s first shoe or teething ring, old jewelry, mementos from vacations, small stuffed animals and toys, holiday card ornaments, miniature toy cars, cookie cutters, dressed up dolls, or edible cookie ornaments;
* Email holiday party invitations making it clear that the invitation is in lieu of a traditional card;
* Eliminate disposal plates, cups and napkins from your holiday party. Instead, use “real” dishes and cloth napkins that can be washed and reused. Everyone loves hanging around the kitchen so make cleaning up part of the party;
* Give home-baked goodies in reusable holiday tins;
* Recycle all beverage and food cans and bottles from your holiday gathering;
* Buy the highest content post-consumer recycled holiday greeting cards that you can find. These cards are becoming easier to find in stores. Look for the recycling symbol inside a circle or a statement that says the cards are made from recycled paper;
* Reuse wrapping and ribbon when possible or purchase gift bags that can be reused as an alternative;
* Call the toll-free phone numbers on unwanted holiday catalogs and have your name taken off their mailing lists;
* Give non-materialistic “green” gifts that do not require wrapping, such as gift certificates for massages, restaurants, cooking classes, sailing lessons, etc. Experiences are remembered long after other presents wear out;
* Help someone recycle by buying a can-crusher, recycling or compost bin, or a tote cart to help get the bin to the curb;
* Prepare homemade soups or dinners that can be frozen for future use;
* Give away — not throw away — the last great book you bought. Give it to someone who enjoys your taste and later the two of you can talk about it;
* Save gift boxes, bows and ribbon for use next holiday season; and,
* Start off 2009 by making waste reduction your No. 1 New Year’s resolution. Commit to purchasing longer lasting products, such as compact florescent light bulbs and rechargeable batteries. You will save money and have less trash to discard.
What’s an easy and environmentally friendly way to get rid of your Christmas tree following the holidays? Raleigh residents should place their discarded trees at the curb with regular yard waste on their scheduled collection day.
All natural Christmas trees collected by the City’s Solid Waste Services Department, including those taken to the Yard Waste Center, are recycled into wood chips and mulch. These products are sold to the general public at the Yard Waste Center, which can be reached at 250-2728.