Environmental update: Here’s how to cut your holiday waste

By From page A6 | December 09, 2012

By Jennifer Gilbert

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans generate an extra 1 million tons of waste each week. Let’s make Davis an exception to that rule by recycling and reusing as much as we can.

* Corrugated cardboard boxes: Reuse as storage containers, or wrapping paper, gift boxes, cardboard boxes and cards.

* Wrapping paper and boxes: Save to reuse next year. Reuse cards as gift tags or gift bookmarks. If you can’t reuse them, these items can all be recycled with paper. Flatten and stack large cardboard boxes and place next to your recycling and trash cart.

Ribbons and bows are not recyclable but should be saved and reused.

Buy products made from recycled materials and products that have minimal packaging.

* Instead of using wrapping paper, place gifts in reusable gift boxes and bags and then save the bags, boxes, ribbons and bows to use again next year.

* Instead of using a gift tag or card, hand-write the recipient’s name with a colored pen or pencil, or paint it using watercolors.

* If you use store-bought wrapping paper, choose one with recycled content (the more post-consumer content, the better).

* Try giving a gift of experience, like concert tickets, restaurant gift cards or a spa treatment instead of an item that may not be needed or wanted.

* Avoid buying greeting cards that require a battery (singing cards, cards that light up, etc.). Per state law, batteries cannot be placed in the trash. As these cards contain batteries and electrical components, they have to be recycled separately — in Davis, the battery can be dropped off at CVS/pharmacy, Rite Aid, Nugget Market, the Senior Center, Davis Food Co-op, Davis Ace or Hibbert Lumber. The electrical components can be recycled with other electronics at the landfill, SPCA Thrift Store or Goodwill Donation Xpress, and the paper portion of the card can be recycled with paper.

* Re-gift unwanted items. Check our online Recyclopedia at DavisRecycling.org to find local reuse options.

Electronics: Donate your unwanted electronics to a local charity or thrift store or recycle them at the Yolo County Central Landfill, SPCA Thrift Store or the Goodwill Donation Xpress for free. Choose rechargeable batteries for your new electronics.

* When you go out to do your holiday shopping, start a new habit and bring a reusable bag. Whether it’s a cloth, plastic or vinyl reusable bag — or a plastic grocery bag from last week’s shopping trip — get in the habit to BYOB: bring your own bag.

Having a hard time remembering to bring your reusable bags? It’s OK, it can be tough to learn a new habit. Here are some tips to help you remember to bring your own bag when you shop:

— Include a bag in your shopping list as Item No. 1;
— Put your coupons in your bag and keep it by the door;
— Keep reusable bags in the trunk of your car and put a small note on the dashboard to remind you to bring them;
— Purchase a few compact reusable bags that you can keep with you in a purse, jacket pocket or backpack, or attach to your key chain;
— Decorate your own bag;
— Ask the kids to remind you to bring your bags as part of earning their allowance;
— Put your bags back in your car of bike basket after emptying it;
— Leave your bags in the driver’s side pocket of the car;
— Clip a bag to your shopping list; and
— Hang bags on the front door knob.

* Did you know that you can compost your tree after the holidays? Remove the lights, ornaments, tinsel and tree stand. Cut trees over 5 feet tall in half and put trees on the street with yard material for composting. Trees should not be larger than 5 feet in any direction. Davis Waste Removal will collect trees for composting on your scheduled yard material collection day. Flocked trees are not accepted.

For more useful holiday recycling tips, visit DavisRecycling.org.


The 2013 Yolo County recycling calendars are on their way. You will be able to pick up free copies of the calendar in Davis at City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd.; the Public Works Department, 1717 Fifth St.; Davis Waste Removal, 2727 Second St.; and the Stephens Branch Library, 315 E. 14th St.


The Yolo County Central Landfill accepts household hazardous waste every Friday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Bring your household cleaners, automotive fluids, paints, pesticides, used syringes, empty propane canisters and more.

— Jennifer Gilbert is the city of Davis conservation coordinator; her column is published monthly. For more information, visit DavisRecycling.org or email her at [email protected]

Jennifer Gilbert

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