Republic offers sustainability tips for the holiday season

American's waste generation increases 25 percent per household between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

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November 30, 2017

Republic Services Inc., Phoenix, is offering tips to incorporate environmentally responsible practices into celebrations and family gatherings during the holiday season.

"The holiday season can be a hectic time of year for just about everyone,” Pete Keller, vice president of recycling and sustainability at Republic, says. "Many of us want to be more sustainable during the holidays, but we aren't sure how or we just don't have the time. These five easy tips can help each of us to do our part to make environmentally responsible choices throughout the holiday season and help make a positive impact in our communities for generations to come."

Republic's five holiday sustainability tips are:

  1. Reuse laminated bags and recycling those made of paper.
  2. Make shredded paper out of old newspapers and reusing last year's bubble wrap and Styrofoam peanuts when shipping gifts.
  3. Recycle wrapping paper, including shiny paper, after opening gifts. Ribbons and bow are not recyclable and should be saved and reused.
  4. Check with a service provider on any special instructions or electronics recycling options.
  5. Makes ure paper coffee cups, plastic lids and paper sleeves are empty, clean and dry before going to the recycling container.

American's waste generation per household increases 25 percent, or almost 1,000 pounds of trash, between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, Republic says. Remarkably, roughly 80 percent of what is thrown away during the holidays could be recycled or repurposed, according to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The most common nonrecyclables contaminating the recycling waste stream during the holiday season include bubble wrap, cellophane, string/rope, ribbons and bows, batteries, food, clothing, cellphones and and polystyrene foam, Republic says.

The cardboard and the plastic are recyclable in toy packaging but must be separated from one another, Republic says, including the plastic window on the box of a doll or action figure. Sticky gift tags are not recyclable alone, but they are acceptable if fixed to an envelope or wrapping paper.

Republic also recommends checking in advance f or any changes to holiday collection dates or times and special instructions for disposing of Christmas trees.