It’s back! The holiday season is upon us once again. Decorations are going up, presents are being purchased and people are taking some time to relax and enjoy some holiday cheer. In preparation for the holidays, your friends at the HCIA want to remind you to “Think Green” and be sustainable this holiday season.

When the parties, decorating and gift giving are all over, it leaves on thing: Garbage. Industry statistics show that over 25% additional waste is generated over the holiday season than any other point of the year. First, it is good to know when your garbage and recycling is picked up. Download the Recycle Coach App for more information on pickup days in your town.

Let’s go over some recycling basics. Items such as glass bottles and jars, aluminum cans, plastic bottles and containers, etc. are all recyclable and belong in your recycling container rather than household trash. Remember to empty and rinse out food jars and cans in order to remove residual food particles. For those bottled-water drinkers, remember that you can leave the bottlecaps on top of the bottles. Thanks to modern technology, these caps are now recyclable by recycling machines.

Placing the wrong items into recycling bins will defeat the purpose of recycling. For example, a plastic toy with metal parts, electronics and batteries is not recyclable. Similar items make a recycler’s job more difficult as well as more costly while reducing the amount of material that is being recycled. If a recycling bin becomes contaminated with an excess of nonrecyclable material, the entire bin could end up in a landfill. Visit the Recycling Section of the HCIA Website or contact our Recycling Department with any questions.

Did you enjoy in the excitement (and deals) of Cyber Monday? Remember that those cardboard boxes are recyclable- and high value recyclables at that! As you gather those boxes, do not place them in your recycling bin- not only can they clog up your bins, they should not be handled with other recyclables. While local governments pay for the recycling of materials such as bottles, cans and plastics, they actually receive money from the sale of cardboards materials to recyclers. This helps save money while also ensuring the materials are properly recycled. Remember to break down cardboard boxes to save space and keep them from blowing around on windy days. A helpful hint is to always remove mailing labels from the boxes to help keep your identity protected. Be sure to remove any packing materials included in the boxes which keep your items from breaking. Finally, you can leave the packing tape on the boxes- they do not pose a threat to the recycling process.

Opening gifts as almost as much fun as giving gifts. But when the gifts are all open, someone has to clean up. Glossy and laminated gift wrap is not recyclable, nor are ribbons, specifically ribbons with wire mesh. These items can be placed with the regular garbage. Looking for a fun alternative to wrapping paper? Green Field Paper Company offers recycled wrapping paper embedded with seed. The paper can be planted after it’s used and will sprout non-invasive wildflowers in the Spring!

Another earth friendly option is to use reusable shopping bags which make for an ecologically safe and smart option to package gifts in. And as a loyal HCIA Blog reader, you know, plastic bags clog up the recycling system and should not be placed in with regular recyclables. Stores throughout Hudson County have plastic bag recycling bins. Visit Plastic Film Recycling for the location closest to you.

When the holiday party is over, someone is stuck cleaning up. Used disposable plates, napkins and paper cups are not recyclable and should be thrown in the trash. If you are using disposable cutlery, they should also be thrown in the trash. Also, paper towels are not currently recyclable due to the loose fibers that they are constructed of. Looking for an 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.

For those residents with real Christmas Trees, your municipality will pick your tree up curbside. Check the Recycle Coach App for additional information on pickup. Real Christmas trees are biodegradable and can be reused or recycled for mulch or other purposes. In many 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 get a living, rooted tree which can be planted in your yard after using it indoors! The folks at Real Christmas Trees recommend digging a hole for the tree prior to the ground freezing to allow for planting after Christmas.

Join us this holiday season in keeping our Earth in mind as you celebrate!

On behalf of the Commissioners and staff of the Hudson County Improvement Authority, we wish you all Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year! See you in 2018!


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