After the stockings have been emptied and bellies stuffed, you may be left with a mountain of recycling confetti-ing your carpet. If so, where to put what could bring out some people’s inner Scrooge?
Instead of tossing items unnecessarily into the trash or being overly generous to your recycling bin, take a moment to familiarize yourself with some of the most commonly misplaced recyclables this time of year.
Greeting cards may be going digital, but old school holiday and gift cards may have made their way into your living room. Keep cards with glitter, other plastic features or batteries out of your recycling, as the system is not designed for them.
Similarly, gift paper with a plastic metallic layer or other plastic elements, like bows, goes in the trash can. Gift bags can be reused but if they’re headed for the recycling, rope handles and other non-paper features should be removed.
Electronics from under the tree may have been cushioned in polystyrene. Fortunately, foam packaging recycling collection has just resumed after a temporary pause due to transportation corridors being affected by weather. This goes for glass container recycling as well.
If you’ve been stockpiling your pickle jars or foam, bring them in smaller loads to avoid overwhelming the system. Faulty twinkle lights can go to Augusta Recyclers or the Return-It Bottle Depot (7127 Duncan Street).
Parties that got a little rambunctious may have resulted in broken dishware or glasses. Sorry to be a party pooper, but these are not accepted in the curbside or depot programs.
Your holiday tree probably still has some more life in it, but you can start to think about responsible disposal. Local fundraisers often offer a tree chipping service for a donation. Removing ornaments and tinsel is key to preventing plastic contamination. If you are backyard composting, cutting off branches and layering your pile will speed up the process.
Candles make moments a little more magical. When they burn out, the remaining wax can still find a unique use locally. Drop your wax candles off at the Powell River Town Centre Recycling Depot next to RONA, where they will be repurposed into OneLight’s fire starters. Wax can still be in its metal or glass containers and can be beeswax, soy or paraffin.
Broken toys, even if entirely made of plastic, must go in the garbage or become a weird art project. Toy chests may be overflowing after Santa’s visit. A great practice to introduce to your household is to pass along one pre-loved toy for every new-to-you toy. Double check that donations are in good, clean condition.
Plastic wrapping is nearly inevitable anytime of the year, but in particular when we are celebrating. Many sweet and savory holiday treats are wrapped in a plastic that falls into the “Other Flexible Plastic Packaging” collected at recycling depots. This category also includes cheese wrappers, zipper lock pouches, stand up pouches, cereal bags, mesh orange bags, bubble wrap, plastic envelopes, vacuum-sealed meat packaging and woven rice bags.
Following the deluge of holiday abundance, we can start the year out right by managing what’s left behind responsibly.
Happy New Year from Let’s Talk Trash!
Let’s Talk Trash is qathet Regional District’s waste reduction education program. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.