UTICA — The holiday season is a time of giving and sharing with family and friends.
While enjoying these traditions, one can also take steps to make their holidays green.
“Solid waste reduction and recycling is an important issue that we need to address not only during the holidays, but every day. Because of the increased amount of trash during the holiday season, the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority wants to make reducing and recycling as much of this waste as possible, a reality,” said Jamie Tuttle, school recycling coordinator.
“This year marks the 23rd year that holiday gift wrap will be accepted for recycling in Oneida and Herkimer counties. To recycle holiday gift wrap, fold or flatten the gift wrap and place it loosely in your recycling container. Do not put gift wrap or recyclable material in plastic bags. Please do not recycle foil or metallic wrapping paper or metallic ribbon or tape. Wrapping paper will only be accepted during the two weeks after Christmas. Cardboard tubes from gift wrap may be placed in your recycling container. Always consider reusing wrapping paper before disposal,” she added.
Holiday greeting cards may also be recycled.
Styrofoam and packing peanuts are not recyclable and foam items should be placed with one’s regular trash.
Holiday lights should be stored for use again next year. If they are broken or unwanted, they cannot be placed in the recycling bin. The Central New York Veterans Outreach is accepting donations of old Christmas lights this holiday season. The lights will be recycled and proceeds will go toward the construction of housing units for homeless veterans. The Veterans Outreach Center is located at 726 Washington St. in Utica and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 PM for drop offs. To schedule a large pickup of lights, call 765-0975. Individuals may also deliver Christmas lights to the Utica Residential Convenience Station on Leland Avenue during normal business hours for proper recycling at no charge, or dispose of them with regular trash.
The Authority’s green waste compost facility allows the region increased recycling opportunities, including Christmas tree recycling. Contact a local municipality to see what the collection schedule is for Christmas trees. If a municipality does not have a collection schedule, residents may deliver trees for composting to the Utica Residential Convenience Station
“Make sure all decorations and tinsel are removed. All Christmas wreaths should be disposed of with your regular garbage. Real and artificial wreaths are held together with wire and plastic, so they cannot be safely composted. By using reusable decorations and avoiding items such as tinsel, which is hard to remove and reuse again, you can reduce waste,” said Tuttle.
Disposing of leftover cooking oil from deep fryers does not have to be a challenge. Residents have the capability to recycle their cooking oil and kitchen grease. Residents are able to drop-off cooking oil and kitchen grease at the Utica Residential Convenience Station year-round. Residents should transport used oils or grease in sealed, unbreakable, leak-proof containers. The material is then collected and recycled into animal feed.
Page 2 of 2 - “In order to close the recycling loop, you need to buy recycled products,” stated Tuttle. “While you are shopping for gifts, purchase items made from recycled-content. Many polar fleece and other clothing items are made from recycled plastic soda and water bottles. Purchase wrapping paper, gift boxes, gift bags, and holiday cards made from recycled paper. With a little pre-cycling, waste reduction and proper recycling of the materials we generate, we can all make our holidays a little greener,” said Tuttle.
For more information regarding recycling and waste disposal, visit www.ohswa.org or call the Authority’s main office at 733-1224.