As you’re gearing up for the holidays, keep in mind that your local waste management provider’s schedules may change. Trash and curbside recycling collections may be cancelled or rescheduled, leaving you with a few extra days between pickups. But don’t let these changes become yet another cause of holiday stress. Check out these three quick and easy ways to prep for holiday waste collection ahead of time.
1. Know the schedule
Now is the perfect time to mark trash and recycling pickup changes on your calendar to avoid unwanted surprises. Check your city or municipality’s Website for holiday waste collection schedules. Having trouble finding it? A simple Web search with your town’s name and the words “holiday waste pickup schedule” should point you in the right direction.
And take note of weekly trash limits. Most cities set a limit for the amount of trash each household can dispose of in a given week – usually about four 32-gallon receptacles or eight 30-inch trash bags. To ensure that your household doesn’t go over the limit, make a waste management plan ahead of time and fill up those recycling bins instead.
2. Empty those bins
Sure, forgetting to take out your trash or recyclables once in a while isn’t usually a big deal. But when you’re staring down the barrel of five days without collection, remembering to curb your waste becomes pretty important.
On the last day of pickup before the holidays, make sure to get all of your trash and recyclables out of the house to minimize later stress. And remember to put out your bins at the correct time. Even if your local waste haulers don’t usually show up until the afternoon, they may arrive earlier on the last day before holiday vacations. If your town’s holiday schedule suggests setting out your bins before 7 a.m., it’s usually safest to take their advice.
3. Get prepped early
The hurricane of holiday gift-opening can wreak havoc on your living room. And you may be tempted to simply toss everything in the trash to get the mess cleaned up. Stop the disposal drama before it starts by getting prepped early with designated waste bins.
Set up a bin (or a large shipping box) for wrapping paper, tissue paper and gift boxes that you plan to recycle. Most wrapping paper can be recycled at the curb with other mixed paper. But avoid recycling metallic prints or anything that appears to be made from something other than paper. Designate a separate bin for gift bows, boxes, bags and wrapping that you plan to save for reuse.
Recovering gift wrap will go a long way towards avoiding the “waste walk of shame” (think: dragging 10 trash bags to the curb on Dec. 26). But to make managing holiday waste even easier, think ahead in the kitchen, too.
When preparing your holiday meals, set up a recycling bin in the kitchen for cans, boxes and other food packaging, and designate a separate container for compostables. After the holidays, toss your organic waste into your household compost pile or use Earth911 to find an organic waste recycling solution near you.