AltUse Find - Help reduce holiday trash



Food and all those lights, trees, gifts and their wrapping paper make the holidays a lot more festive, but they also considerably increase the amount of trash we produce.
Before you carry your dried-out tree and empty gadget boxes to the curb, consider these numbers:
• Americans produce 6 million tons of trash between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day - 25 percent more than any other period of similar length.
• Styrofoam (think about all those packaging "peanuts") accounts for 25 percent of landfill waste.
• About 33 million live Christmas trees are sold in North America every year.
• The Postal Service delivers 16.6 billion cards, letters and packagesbetween Dec. 1 and Christmas.
• About 40 percent of annual battery sales are during the holiday season.
• Americans go through 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps each year.
• Wrapping paper and shopping bags account for about 4 million tons of trash annually in the United States. Wrapping paper is tough to recycle because of the materials it's made from and because it usually has tape on it.
With that in mind, here are some tips for delivering fewer "gifts" for the landfill this year:
• Recycle your used greeting cards.
• If you need to buy batteries for an electronic gift you received, buy rechargeables.
• Check with the local solid waste department to see if it collects and mulches trees.
• Go to www.earth911 .org and enter your ZIP code to find out where to recycle your Christmas tree.
• Save your used wrapping paper and gift bags for next year, or check with your trash hauler to see if it collects wrapping paper and gift bags. Some cities organize collection days specifically for this material.
Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Census Bureau, Waste Management Inc., Earth911.com., The Washington Po