Tips To Reduce Holiday Waste

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BROOME COUNTY, NY (WSKG)ー The Broome County Department of Public Works is encouraging residents to dispose of holiday waste sustainably this season.

Christmas trees and evergreens brought by local residents for use in a recycling program, in Brooklyn, N.Y. (AP Photo/Beth J. Harpaz)

According to county officials, household waste can increase by up to 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. To address this increase, the Solid Waste Management Division released a number of tips for waste reduction and disposal early last week. Now, as the holiday season wraps up, Broome County residents can use their tips to make sure that their holiday waste is handled properly.

Jessica Brewer, the Materials Recovery Manager for Broome County, said most wrapping materials can be recycled in curbside bins as long as boxes and paper are flat, dry and free of tape and string.

Yet some items, Brewer warned, should not be recycled. Wrapping paper with glitter or metallic designs and items known as “tanglers” should be kept out of curbside bins. Tanglers include burned out or broken string lights, receipts and ribbons or bows. These items can slow down the recycling process.

“Those items actually tangle up the recycling machinery and then they have to stop processing and pull all of those items out so they can continue the process,” Brewer explained. “It’s a big headache for the recycling facilities.”

She added that some items can be reused rather than recycled. Gift boxes and bows can be salvaged and used year after year.

Holiday recycling doesn’t end with wrapping materials. Broome County is also offering two options for recycling live Christmas trees this season.

One, at the Broome County landfill, is open for tree dropoff from 7 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. on weekdays and from 7 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.on Saturdays. Trees returned here are converted to compost, which is offered free to residents each spring.

“You can recycle your Christmas tree in January and then pick it back up as compost in April,” Brewer explained.

An alternate location at the Department of Environmental Conservation office in Kirkwood converts trees into mulch for hiking trails. The location is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

The drop-off location at Grippen Ave in Endicott is closed until further notice due to the snowstorm earlier this month.

Trees should be checked thoroughly for tinsel, ornaments and other decorations, which must be removed before they are returned.

Both locations will accept trees through the end of January.