Environmental update: Reduce your waste size in 2014

By From page A6 | December 31, 2013

If you are still trying to think of a good New Year’s resolution, how about a resolution to reduce your waste size — the pounds of waste that you generate every day? Here are some simple suggestions:

* Compost your Christmas tree. When you are finished enjoying your cut Christmas tree, you can keep it “green” and have it composted. Remove the lights, ornaments, tinsel and tree stand. Cut trees over 5 feet tall in half and put on the street in front of your property with your yard material for composting. Trees will be collected on your scheduled yard material collection day.

Please be courteous and do not place trees or yard materials around the corner or across the street from your house. Remember that, just like other yard materials placed for pickup, trees placed in the street for collection cannot block bike lanes. This may mean that your tree cannot be 5 feet wide if it obstructs the bike lane.

Flocked trees are not accepted for composting. If you have a flocked tree, you can cut off the flocked branches, chop them into pieces and place them in your garbage cart (the lid must be able to close). The un-flocked trunk of the tree can be put in the street for composting.

* Compost your food scraps. Food scraps can make up 25 percent of your trash. Composting your food scraps can be surprisingly simple, pest-free and takes only five minutes of your time each week. See DavisRecycling.org and click on the link for “composting” on the right for detailed information on composting your food scraps via in-ground composting.

* Pick up a copy of the 2014 Yolo County recycling calendar. It offers an A to Z guide with lists of local recycling and reuse options for many items you may have around your home. Free copies are available at Davis City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd.; the city of Davis Community Services Department, 600 A St., Suite C; the Davis Senior Center, 646 A St.; Davis Waste Removal, 2727 Second St.; and the Stephens Branch Library, 315 E. 14th St. You can also download a digital copy at DavisRecycling.org.

* Stay up-to-date with local waste reduction and recycling opportunities by joining DavisRecycling.org on Facebook and Twitter. “Like” the program on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DavisRecycling.org and follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DavisRecycling. You can also get updates via SMS by texting “follow DavisRecycling to 40404” (standard message rates may apply).

* Dispose of your hazardous waste responsibly. Do you have propane canisters, fluorescent bulbs, used syringes, unwanted pharmaceuticals (non-controlled) or paint? All these items and more can be brought to the Yolo County Central Landfill household hazardous waste drop-off days for free and safe disposal every Friday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

* Use less. It’s better not to create waste than to have to figure out what to do with it. In public restrooms, try using just one paper towel to dry your hands, instead of several. When shopping, buy in bulk to avoid excess packaging. When purchasing gifts, consider giving someone the “gift of an experience” (a restaurant gift certificate, theater tickets, etc.) instead of just more stuff.

* Choose reusable options. Look at what is in your trash can and think about reusable alternatives. Chances are, there is a lot of stuff in there that was used just once then thrown away. Try using reusable bags or containers for lunches. Bring your own Thermos or mug to the coffee shop. Use a sponge or rag to wipe spills instead of paper napkins and paper towels.

* Reduce your junk mail. Do you get a lot of catalogues, credit card offers and coupons for things you don’t want or need? You can get an online kit to stop junk mail at StopJunkMail.org.

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

Jennifer Gilbert

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