Waste district offers holiday recycling guidelines

  • The cardboard and paper recycling piled up inside the building at the Greenfield Transfer Station. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 12/23/2019 5:46:59 PM

GREENFIELD — During the holiday season, the average American family throws away at least 25 percent more trash than they do the rest of the year, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. But could a portion of the trash from the holidays be avoided, reused, recycled or composted?

Reducing holiday waste can help save money on “pay-as-you-throw” trash stickers or bags, save towns money, reduce carbon and methane emissions, and further protect the environment. The Springfield Materials Recycling Facility, which sorts and bales recyclables from 60 communities in Western Massachusetts, asks residents to follow the recycling guidelines outlined below by the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District.

Wrapping paper and tissue paper are acceptable for paper recycling, but only if they do not contain foil, metallic inks or glitter. Tape and labels, paper gift bags and shopping bags are also accepted. Other recyclable holiday waste includes: greeting cards without foil, metallic inks or glitter; paper envelopes; catalogs; calendars; corrugated cardboard boxes; and paperboard gift boxes.

The Franklin County Solid Waste Management District suggests keeping a paper bag or recycling bin handy while wrapping or opening gifts to collect all paper recyclables.

Items that are not recyclable include: ribbons, bows, tinsel, holiday lights, Christmas tree netting, styrofoam, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, plastic shipping envelopes, and plastic bag and “blister pack” packaging as is used with some packaged toys.

According to Franklin County Solid Waste Management District, holiday lights are not considered recyclable because they get wrapped around the sorting equipment at recycling facilities. Holiday light strings are accepted for recycling at most scrap metal dealers, such as WTE in Greenfield.

Clean, dry packing materials, such as packing peanuts, bubble wrap and styrofoam sheets are accepted for reuse at The UPS Store, 21 Mohawk Trail in Greenfield. Call The UPS Store at 413-772-2523 with questions.

The Franklin County Solid Waste Management District also suggests reducing or reusing gift wrap in creative ways. One of the most important steps in waste savings is to carefully open gifts and reuse the gift wrap, tissue paper, ribbons or bows next year.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, battery purchases and usage increases by 40 percent around the holidays. All 17 transfer stations within the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District accept rechargable, button and lithium batteries for free, year-round. Batteries can contain heavy metals and should not be thrown in the trash.

Composting is an effective way to decrease holiday food waste. The municipal compost programs at the transfer stations in Bernardston, Conway, Deerfield, Greenfield, Leverett, New Salem, Northfield, Orange, Wendell and Whately accept all types of food waste, including meat, bones, cheese and paper waste from napkins, paper towels, egg cartons, soiled pizza boxes and other to-go containers, according to the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District. These programs may be open to permit holders only.

Contact the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District with questions at 413-772-2438 or info@franklincountywastedistrict.org, or visit franklincountywastedistrict.org.

Reach Zack DeLuca at 413-772-0261, ext. 264 or zdeluca@recorder.com.


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