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Minimize holiday paper recycling

During the holidays, the average American family throws away up to 10 additional bags of trash.

In towns that require you to pay for your trash bags, those holiday extras would cost $15 to $30, depending on the town. A large portion of this trash is generated from wrapping paper, boxes, tissue, packing materials and shopping bags.

The Springfield Materials Recycling Facility, which accepts recyclables from 75 communities in western Massachusetts including many Franklin County towns, asks residents to keep the following recycling guidelines in mind.

Wrapping paper and tissue paper are recyclable, but only if they do not contain foil, metallic inks or glitter. Tape is OK. Paper shopping bags and gift bags are also recyclable, and any type of handle is OK to include. Also recyclable are greeting cards (except those with foil, wire, glitter), envelopes (plastic windows are OK), catalogs, calendars, corrugated cardboard boxes and paperboard gift boxes. When opening or wrapping presents, keep paper grocery bags, a paper lawn and leaf bag, or a recycling bin handy to collect mixed paper recyclables.

You shouldn’t include the following items in municipal recycling: ribbons, bows, tinsel, holiday lights, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, polystyrene (Styrofoam), plastic bags and plastic “blister pack” packaging.

Clean, dry packing materials such as peanuts and bubble wrap, inflatable “air pillow” packaging, and plastic foam sheets are accepted free for reuse at The UPS Store, 21 Mohawk Trail, Greenfield: 413-772-2523.

Holiday lights are NOT recyclable in your town’s municipal recycling because they get wrapped around the sorting equipment at the recycling facility and they cannot be processed there. Holiday light strings are accepted for scrap metal recycling at wTe’s Non Ferrous Division at 28 Montague City Road, Greenfield. At wTe they will pay 40 cents per pound for holiday light strings. Additionally, you can get a coupon for 25 percent off of HolidayLEDs.com energy efficient holiday lights by mailing in your old light strings for recycling: www.holidayleds.com/holidayledscom_christmas_light_recycling_program.

For more information, call: 413-772-2438, or info@franklincountywastedistrict.org.

The title of this article should read: Minimize Holiday TRASH or, MAXIMIZE Holiday Paper Recycling. A correction was run in the 12/10 issue. Yes, giftwrap is recyclable! For more information about recycling, composting, or hazardous waste disposal, please visit: www.franklincountywastedistrict.org

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