Another Christmas is past, the holiday trash is piling up, and it will soon be time to dispose of the Christmas tree you just cut down a couple of weeks ago.
According to a recent report from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, during the holidays Americans toss out 25 percent more trash than any other time of the year.
But with just a little effort a lot of that trash could be recycled, says Marilyn Ortt with the Marietta Recycling Center.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Gill Cunningham from Reno hauled some cardboard to the Marietta Recycling Center on Gilman Avenue Tuesday afternoon. Area residents are encouraged to recycle cardboard, paper and other materials left over after the Christmas holiday.
"Why fill up a landfill with something that could be recycled?" she asked. "We should be recycling not only during the holidays but 365 days a year."
Ortt said the recycling center on Gilman Avenue can accept wrapping paper this year, something the facility did not recycle in years past.
"We can't recycle foil paper, but straight gift wrapping can be recycled, along with cardboard or newspapers," she said. "We'll take most types of cardboard, but ask that boxes be flattened before placing them in the recycling trailer."
Americans throw away 25 percent more trash during the holidays than any other time of year.
The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about one million extra tons per week.
Much of the 28 billion pounds of edible food thrown away each year is wasted during the holiday season.
Source: Ohio EPA and use-less-stuff.com
Ortt added that cardboard encased in plastic has to be separated from the plastic coating before it can be recycled.
"We also ask that people place the cardboard or paper as far back on the trailer as possible which saves a lot of effort for our volunteers," she said.
In addition to paper and cardboard, the center accepts a variety of glass and plastics.
Plastics numbered 1, 2, 4, and 5 (noted in the triangle of chasing arrows on the bottom of most plastic containers) can be accepted at the center, Ortt said.
Another way for Marietta residents to recycle is by using curbside recycling provided by Rumpke, the city's waste hauling contractor.
Rumpke spokeswoman Taylor Greely said the company encourages customers to recycle cardboard boxes, including shoe boxes, shipping boxes and gift boxes, as well as paper products like gift bags, non-foil wrapping paper, newspapers, postcards, greeting cards, catalogs and magazines.
"Recyclers can stay off the naughty list by reusing, donating or discarding some items instead of placing them in the recycling bins," she said.
Those items include unwanted gifts, packing peanuts and bubble wrap, ribbons and bows, plastic shopping bags, clothing and toys, decorations (wreaths, garlands, etc.), foil and plastic wrap, blister or clam shell packaging, electronics and batteries.
Natural cut Christmas trees can be taken to one of three locations in Marietta for disposal, including Buckeye Park, Lookout Park and the Indian Acres Park boat ramp lot, according to city streets superintendent Todd Stockel.
"The Ohio Department of Natural Resources usually contacts us sometime after the first of the year to pick up the discarded trees that they use to provide fish habitat in lakes around the state," he said. "But the city doesn't pick up Christmas trees."
He said residents can deliver their trees to one of the three sites listed above, or to the compost site at Greenleaf Landscaping on Muskingum Drive.
"All ornaments and trimming should be removed before Christmas trees are discarded," Stockel added.
Greely said Rumpke also encourages Marietta residents to compost their Christmas trees with Greenleaf.
She said the tree can be taken to the Greenleaf facility, or Marietta customers may contact Rumpke and schedule tree collection and delivery to the Greenleaf facility for a $5 fee.