Christmas trash increase adds tons of waste

Published 3:21 pm Thursday, December 25, 2008

There is no doubt that we produce a lot of waste during Christmas. All of the wrapping paper, boxes, bowsand leftover food we generate translates to millions of extra trash tonage.

It’s something we seldom stop to think about — how much waste exactly are residents in Demopolis and Marengo County accountable for during the holidays?

According to Mike Wilson with Advanced Disposal, the amount of solid waste picked up during the two days after Christmas is almost double the normal amount.

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“We usually pick up about 32 tons of waste a day,” said Wilson. “The day after Christmas we will likely pick up almost twice as much.”

Advance Disposal operates five trucks throughout the county. Wilson said they do not plan to add any additional trucks or schedule more pickups to handle the increased load.

“We will not pick on Christmas Day (Thursday),” said Wilson. “We will pick up on Friday and Saturday.”

Wilson also said it is important for residents to make sure all of the garbage is bagged up.

A study cited by the U.S. Environmental Agency found that between Thanksgiving and New Years Day the volume of household garbage in the United States increases by 25 percent, from about 4 million to 5 million tons per week. Some of the extra waste is generated by the holiday feeding frenzy, certainly, but much of it is in the form of gift-wrap and packaging.

Most of the 38,000 miles of ribbon reportedly thrown away by Americans every year are thrown away during the holiday season. And then there are the holiday cards: 2.2 billion of them, according to researchers at Hallmark.

The National Christmas Tree Association says Americans purchase between 28 million and 30 million trees each year. In Demopolis, the trees will be picked up and used by the parks and recreation department and recycled.

Here are some tips to keep in mind that will help reduce the amount the problems associated with Christmas trash buildup this year.

 Put your waste and bulky items out at the curb only on collection days (or the evening before).

 Make sure all garbage is in bags.

 To reduce the size, break down boxes to fit more compact.

 Place your trees at the curb for pickup if you live in an area where yard waste is picked up. If not, look for places that take Christmas trees and recycle them.

 Recycle the beverage containers from all the parties, and the big corrugated cardboard boxes from those super toys and gifts.

 Beware — Fireworks and garbage are a dangerous mix.

 If you have fireworks activity in your neighborhood, please be sure that your waste container is closed and placed out of the way.