Make it a “green” Christmas: Some tips on recycling and reducing waste this season

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(WIVB) – The holiday season is coming up fast- and with it, extra trash.

“The holidays are a huge time of consumption for everyone,” Susan Attridge, director of Refuse and Recycling for the City of Buffalo, said. “Nationwide, over 6 million tons of extra material is generated during the holidays.”

The extra waste comes from packaging, but also from food waste, Attridge said.

“Food waste is the heaviest component of all waste,” she added.

Dale Wittlief, owner and president of local waste-removal service Junk King Buffalo, says that people often upgrade their furniture around the holidays.

“You can recycle that with someone else,” Wittlief said. “When you think about recycling, you only think about what does in the container, but there’s other stuff as well if you can give it away- furniture, clothing.”

Here are some common items that can and can’t be recycled:

Can recycle:

  • Clean cardboard boxes (from online shopping)
  • Newspapers
  • Milk jugs
  • phone books

Can’t recycle:

  • Bubble wrap
  • wrapping paper/bows/ribbons
  • plastic clothes hangers
  • greasy pizza boxes

Attridge says one of the best ways to reduce your waste production this season is to shop for presents locally if possible.

“It helps put money back in our community, but also then you don’t have all of those boxes, plastic packaging, and styrofoam that comes with shipping,” Attridge said.

Food scraps can be composted in the City of Buffalo at two permanent locations- near Caffe Aroma at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Bidwell Parkway, and at the Massachusetts Avenue Project, 387 Massachusetts Ave. from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays.

Fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, nuts, and eggshells are accepted.

November is America Recycles month in the Queen City, and events have been happening all month to help residents recycle responsibly.

The city also has a campaign called 34 and More, which looks to bring Buffalo up to the national recycling rate of 34 percent. 

You can visit their website to see what can be recycled in the City of Buffalo, as well as when and where.

Kaley Lynch is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of her work here.

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