The holiday season is upon us! It’s a busy time filled with shopping, decorating, cooking, parties, cleanup and much more. This season, keep Mother Earth in mind during your preparations and celebrations.

It’s shop til you drop time! Whether you are shopping for presents or groceries, be sure to utilize ecofriendly practices. The convenience of online shopping has made it more popular than ever with 79% of Americans shopping online. Cardboard shopping boxes are recyclable (high value recyclables!) and should be left curbside, separate from regular recyclables. While local governments pay for the recycling of materials such as bottles, cans and plastics, the sale of cardboard materials to recyclers results in funding to offset recycling costs. Please be sure to remove any packing materials that are included in the shipments to protect the contents. Remember to break down the cardboard boxes to save space and keep them from blowing around in case of wind. A helpful hint is to remove mailing labels from boxes to help protect against identity theft. Finally, you can leave packing tape on boxes, they do not interfere with the recycling process.

For those shopping in stores, remember to bring your reusable shopping bag with you. These bags also make a smart and ecologically safe option to package gifts in and can be reused! Remember that plastic shopping bags are an environmental nightmare. Discarded plastic bags can end up in waterways and are deadly to birds and marine life. Stores across Hudson County have plastic bag recycling bins. Find the location nearest you!

Industry statistics show that over 25% additional waste is created over the holiday season than at any other point during the year. In order to properly remove of that waste, it is helpful to know when your garbage and recycling is picked up. Be prepared and download the Recycle Coach App for more information on pickup days in all Hudson County towns.

Remember to practice proper recycling procedures all year round. In the current recycling crisis, recyclers are more stringent in accepting proper recycling loads. If loads are contaminated, recyclers will not accept them. Loads which are not accepted for recycling are sent to a landfill. While not only being counterproductive to the point of recycling, this also has an effect on the County’s recycling rate and would reduce the amount of recycling funding received from the State.

Cleaning up after the party? Many party items such as disposable plates, napkins, disposable cutlery and papers cups are not recyclable and should be placed with your household trash. Paper towels are not recyclable due to the loose fibers which they are constructed of. For a more Earth-friendly option, use re-usable materials such as plates, cutlery and glassware which can be washed and re-used rather than ending up in a landfill.

Before placing your recyclables into your recycling container, please take a moment to rinse them so that any remaining food particles would be removed. Also remember to remove any caps or covers from bottles and cans- these can be placed in the trash and are not recyclable. Recyclables should not be placed in plastic bags which clog up the recycling system. Commingled recycling containers should only contain:

  • Plastics (#1 & #2)
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Aluminum and tin cans

Paper products should be kept separate from cardboard products and should be placed in the proper bin. Mixed paper includes magazines, newspaper, office paper, “junk” mail and chipboard boxes (cereal/gift boxes).

Did someone say gifts? Opening gifts can be just as much fun as receiving them. After they are opened, the cleanup begins. Laminated and glossy wrapping paper is not recyclable, nor are ribbons. These items should be placed with the regular garbage. A fun and Earth-friendly option is to use recycled wrapping paper which is embedded with seed. Once used, this Earth-friendly wrapping paper can be planted in the Spring to sprout into non-invasive wildflowers!

For those with real Christmas trees, your municipality will pick up your tree curbside. Check the Recycle Coach App for additional information on pickup. Real trees are biodegradable and can be reused or recycled for mulch or other purposes. In some shore communities, used Christmas trees serve as erosion barriers on beaches to prevent against storm damage during coastal storms. The most ecofriendly option is to purchase a living, rooted tree which can be planted in your yard after being used for the holidays. It is recommended to dig a hole for the tree prior to the ground freezing to allow for planting after Christmas.

Join us this holiday season to keep the Earth in mind as you celebrate. On behalf of the Hudson County Improvement Authority Commissioners and staff, we wish you a Happy Holiday and safe and Happy New Year!


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