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5 City Waste Management Strategies for The Holidays

The festive season is here which means more cheer, more food, and more waste! Good waste management strategies will ease the burden in your municipality.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, there’s a 25% increase in the trash that’s thrown away. That’s an additional 1 million extra tons of trash per week until the festivities end.

As your municipality gears up for the boom in holiday trash collections, there are a number of ways you can minimize the influx with a few simple waste management strategies aimed at the community.

Here are a few ideas to inspire trash reduction, improve recycling practices, and increase waste management efficiency over the holidays. Let’s make this year the most sustainable and accessible holiday season for everyone in your municipality.

#1: Promote the Availability of Additional Bins

 One of the best things about the end of the year, is a shot at new beginnings. That’s why so many families clean out their garages, deep-clean their homes, and start positive new habits round this time every year. What a fantastic opportunity to promote recycling and composting at home.

 Only 34% of the nation engages in these practices, so there’s room for improvement.

  • Reduce food waste
  • Improve the recycling rate
  • Reduce the collections load

A lot of people don’t know that their municipality offers additional bins for different types of recycling or composting. Take this opportunity to remind the community that these bins are readily available and can be ordered from their local municipal office.

#2: Make Accessing the Holiday Schedule Easy

 Every holiday season, like clockwork, we experience a surge in traffic as your residents use the app to find out how the curbside collection schedule has changed.

During the holidays there are quite a few changes that happen, and sometimes these changes are last minute. Giving residents the ability to check on holiday collection schedules in real time and receive updates or notifications on delays (or switches), is a real crowd-pleaser.

  • Improve collection efficiency
  • Improve resident awareness
  • Improve curbside usability

No-one wants to be left with Christmas trash as New Year’s Day looms. The key to schedule accessibility, is to encourage residents to download and use the Recycle Coach app to get these benefits. It’s also a good time to remind existing users to keep checking the app for updates.

 #3: Advocate for Stronger Recycling Practices

 The holidays bring with it an upsurge of unique waste accessories. There is more food around, as families gather to celebrate the end of the year. There are bulk gift purchases, which means more wrapping paper, bags, packaging, cards, and other gift-related items. Then there’s the décor.

From the increase in food scraps, to the tide of paper, glass, metal, and plastic waste that is created – every household in your municipality should be recycling with purpose during the holidays.

 Prompt residents to recycle better

  • Educate them on what can – and can’t – be recycled
  • Reduce wishcycling

When you urge your residents to recycle better, they’ll rise to the occasion. That means less recycling ends up in the trash disposal, and less trash ends up in the recycling.

Sometimes it’s as easy as helping them know ‘what goes where’ when they are recycling holiday items like Christmas trees, cards, gift wrap and tinsel.

 #4: Educate Residents on Local Recycling Options

 All of the extra holiday waste has to go somewhere. Do your residents know where your specialized recycling programs are? This is a great time to remind the local community which recycling centers accept certain types of recyclable material, and when they’re open over the season.

  • Direct residents to local recycling points

Terracycle has a lot of drop-off zones that will be available in your area. They have programs for hard-to-recycle waste streams, even cigarette butt recycling! Find out if there are any participating malls or stores in your city, and let residents know they can contribute.

#5: Encourage Experiences and Virtual Gifts

 When fewer physical gifts are bought, less waste is created. For better municipal waste management, encourage residents to add a couple virtual gifts or gift experiences to their list this year. Even a few of these per household can make a big difference to the waste stream.

A truly eco-friendly gift isn’t just one that doesn’t harm the environment, it’s one that helps the environment. Launch a community holiday recycling program for Christmas trees, and ask residents to gift the city with their old tree, leaving it in the green bin for collection on a specific day.

With these waste management strategies in play, everyone will actively contribute to a greener festive season. That means less waste that ends up in the landfill, more quality recycled materials that are bound for use as feedstock, and a cleaner municipality as you enter 2021 together.

Happy holidays folks!


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