5 Holiday Recycling Programs to Launch This Year
Which holiday recycling programs will get you the highest recycling rates?
As your municipality shifts gear to prepare for yet another festive season, it’s time to review how to increase recycling participation over the holidays. A new municipal program will inspire your residents to focus on specific material recovery, for a greener, less wasteful holiday season.
According to the EPA – the holidays are an incredible time for material recycling. People are buying and travelling more, which means that the majority (80%) of waste generated this time of year is recyclable. It’s a great time for recycling coordinators to consider the programs they have in place.
An effective festive-season recycling program must be accessible, easy for residents to take part in, and should inspire your communities to go the extra mile, despite the mad rush of activity.
Here are 5 holiday recycling programs that you should consider adding to your schedule, to minimize the waste impact on your city. Choose from this list to stay on track with your green goals.
#1: Holiday Food Composting Program
Whether it’s pumpkins and candy for Halloween, Turkey and trimmings for Thanksgiving, or the usual Christmas feast – holidays create tons of food waste. This one is sometimes overlooked, because it often doesn’t factor into curbside collections or existing urban recycling initiatives.
If you have yet to institute curbside composting and recycling in your community, now is the perfect time. Consider that 40% of the food we produce ends up in a landfill, creating methane. This can drastically be reduced by collecting scraps from homes, businesses, and industrial areas.
Partner with an existing program or initiate one of your own to reduce your city’s carbon footprint.
#2: A Gift Paper Recycling Program
Everyone in your municipality is going to be buying greeting cards, using gift wrapping, and sending gifts in boxes. Dedicated holiday recycling programs that target paper waste are effective this time of year. Your residents will be more conscious about what to do with all that gift-related waste.
Recycling holiday cards, bows, ribbon and paper can significantly ease the local landfill burden. Launch a paper recycling drive that encourages everyone in your city to correctly recycle their wrappings. Promote your drive online, via the app, and through local news stations.
#3: A Christmas Tree Recycling Program
Nothing says Christmas like a decorated tree! Sadly, many of these trees end up polluting the local landfills after incorrect and thoughtless disposal. Your city can prevent this from happening by running a Christmas tree program with curbside pickup or drop-off points for your residents.
Converting these recycled trees into mulch will help birth the next generation of trees. Educate your residents about stripping their used tree, so that pickup or drop-off is easy. Choose accessible locations for residents that aren’t totally out of their way for best results.
San Diego has a great example of a tree recycling initiative that works for the community.
#4: The Plastic Recycling Holiday Program
With all the gifts, cooking, and travel – single-use plastic increases around the holidays. If you can’t encourage your residents to use less plastic, then make recycling what they buy and use, simple. Many types of plastic can be recycled, with a little help from curbside pickup.
Holiday recycling programs differ from one county to the next – so be clear about which kinds of plastic you want to see in your residents recycling streams this season. And as always, make sure to tell residents not to throw away plastic shopping bags!
Implement or expand your plastic recycling holiday initiative this year.
#5: Holiday LEDs Recycling Program
If you’re looking for a municipal recycling program that people want – here is a lightbulb moment! Holiday lights are a huge polluter and so many kinds don’t last beyond one season. Offer curbside lights recycling, and partner with a commercial recycler to process them.
You can also invite residents to use drop-off locations for their lights, or a free mail-in service. However you strategically shape it, helping your community recycle lights through a dedicated program will keep them out of the landfill, and away from the normal recycling stream.
Each of these programs can help your city achieve it’s recycling goals. When reviewing your data, consider which material has the highest potential for improvement. By educating your residents in the weeks leading up to the holidays, you can ensure that more people recycle better.
Choose from one of these holiday recycling programs and make it your own. Using the Recycle Coach app, you can quickly inform your residents of the new program rollout. Good luck!