RecyclingWorks in Lynn

Monday, December 12, 2016

Trash Less and Recycle more during the December Holidays

Sustainable Holidays

During the holiday season we substantially increase the amount of waste and electricity we generate. From wasteful purchases to disposable dinnerware and high electricity bills, the holiday season takes a toll on the environment. However, there are many opportunities for us to be more sustainable during the holiday season. Shop locally, make your own gifts, and reduce waste to reduce your environmental impact. Keep in mind, the best way to have a sustainable holiday is to simplify. When you simplify the holidays you often reduce your costs, stress and waste.


Tips for Green Holiday Shopping

Give the gift of an experience like tix to a performance at Arts After Hours
  • Consider giving a gift that is eco-friendly, such as; items made with recycled content, items that are locally produced, organic, and/or fair-trade.
  • Purchase gifts that are long-lasting or that can be reused and later recycled.
    Look for gifts that don't require batteries. If you must buy a product that needs batteries, buy rechargeable batteries and give them with the gift.
  • Give the gift of apps for smartphones.
  • Used gifts are kinder to the environment. Consider giving vintage and used clothing, books, DVDs, CDs, sports equipment, tools, cameras, children's toys, musical instruments, etc.
  • Online shopping: keeps you off the roads, but consider how far your purchases have to travel to get to you.
  • Give tickets to the Lynn Auditorium concerts, memberships to the Lynn Museum, classes at School of Rock and gift certificates to local restaurants, too many to name here.
  • Make your own gifts: edible gifts such as breads, cookies, cakes, dried fruits, nut mixes, canned goods, jams/jellies, or herbed vinegars make fantastic gifts. Use your arts and crafts skills to knit a scarf, crochet a hat or mittens, paint a watercolor, or design your own jewelry. Make a calendar by using family photos marked with important dates.
  • Make a donation to a non-profit organization in the name of your loved one.
  • Instead of buying a gift, give your time and talent to your loved ones this year.
  • Plan a "re-gift" swap with your like-minded friends and family.
  • Bring your own reusable bag when shopping. 


Gift Wrap, Holiday Cards and Packaging

The wrap is recyclable.  If you don't reuse the string, it goes in the trash cart
  • Instead of wrapping a gift add a bow or ribbon to product boxes or gift boxes.
  • Soft wrapping items like scarves, blankets, or towels are a great alternative to traditional wrapping paper.
  • Be creative about giving old materials new life: magazines, newspapers, maps, posters, children's artwork and calendars make great wrapping paper.
  • Gift bags/baskets are a great wrapping alternative and can be used over and over again. Save clothing boxes, ribbons, bows and wrapping paper to reuse next year.
  • Avoid buying metallic and plastic wrapping paper it is not recyclable.
  • Use last year's holiday cards to create this years "to" and "from" labels.
  • Hide your unwrapped gifts and put clues to where they are around your house.
  • Ask companies to ship your packages using paper instead of polystyrene packing peanuts. If you do receive packing peanuts bring them, and other styrofoam packaging, to shipping stores for recycling.


Holiday Decorations & Christmas Trees

Trade in your old lights for LEDs
  • Energy Star qualified LED lights are 90 percent more efficient than traditional Christmas lights and LED's last longer. What you save on electricity will most likely pay for the new lights--it's that much of a savings.
  • Recycle your old holiday lights. All Home Depots are offering free recycling of old lights until December 14 and Lowes will take them until December 24. After these dates you can take them to Goodwill where they will recycle them as part of Dell Reconnect.
  • Go light-free: candles, the starry night sky and reflective ornaments and menorahs provide electricity-free holiday cheer.
  • Skip the tinsel for the tree and avoid buying plastic decorations.
  • Nature provides beautiful ornaments and other holiday decorations: gather a basket of evergreen branches, berries, flowers, fresh fruit, etc. and arrange as you desire, or make ornaments from twigs, bark, flowers, herbs, etc.
  • String together popcorn and cranberries, or make garland out of old jewelry, small stuffed animals or toys, trinkets, memorabilia, cookie cutters, buttons, etc.
  • Cut Christmas trees are a greener choice than artificial trees.
  • Potted Christmas trees can be replanted after the holidays and reused all year long and for years to come. Consider buying a potted tree with a root ball that is native to your area.
  • Instead of buying a tree, decorate a tree in your backyard.
  • In Lynn, remember to get your tree (and other leaf & yardwaste) curbside on your regular trash day the week of January 9-13.  Your tree is picked up by a special truck for Christmas trees and leaf & yardwaste and it is taken away to be composted.  Take all ornaments and tinsel off it and don't put it in a bag.


 Holiday Food and Green Parties

  • Locally grown food travels fewer miles and creates fewer carbon emissions, and it's fresh healthy food. Serve bite-sized or finger foods to minimize plate and utensil use.
  • Use smaller serving utensils and plates to encourage smaller portions reducing the amount of food waste left on plates.
  • Plan your menu and exactly how much food you'll need.
  • Send electronic party invitations instead of paper invitations.
  • Use re-usable cups, plates, silverware and utensils instead of using disposable plastic, paper or styrofoam at your party.
  • Avoid buying individually packaged drinks.
  • Donate leftover food to local food banks. See food waste suggestions below.
  • Cook multiple items in the same oven and run appliances on full loads.
  • Turn down the thermostat for your party and let your guests be the heaters. Run your ceiling fan clockwise during the party distributing the heat throughout the house.


Sustainable Holiday Traditions

Lynn Christmas Parade Float
  • Watch the Lynn Christmas Parade go by on Christmas Eve. 
  • Participate in the annual Christmas Day Bird Count.
  • Take a family nature hike in Lynn Woods. Bring a garbage bag to collect any litter you see along the way.
  • Bundle up and take a stroll to admire the holiday lights on Lynn Commons, along Lynn Shore Drive and in your neighborhood.

Excess Holiday Trash and Recycling

Clean and dry, no bags, all boxes flattened


The recycling carts are very large in Lynn at 96 gallons and you should be able to pack a lot into them.  You need to break down all boxes and flatten them.  For large boxes use a utility knife to cut them up.  If you still have an exorbitant amount of recycling you can take a 20 min drive from most locations in Lynn to North Shore Recycled Fibers at 53 Jefferson Street in Salem, MA where they will take all your recyclables for free.  They are open 7am-3pm Mon-Fri.

Remember, many wrapping papers that have foil in them are not recyclable.  Go back to this Christmas blog post from 2014 for more advice on disposing of wrapping paper.

Overflow bag packet

 Trash and Overflow Bags

So, you have recycled everything you could recycle and your 64 gallon trash cart is stuffed full.  Read below for tips on food waste which may help to decrease your load.  At this point you will need to buy some City of Lynn Overflow bags.  They come in a packet of 5 bags for $15.  In the supermarkets they sell them at the service desk.

50 Western Avenue
Cal’s News Store
53 Central Avenue
CVS Pharmacy | #1204
509 Eastern Avenue
Mahan’s Hardware
45 Boston Street
Shop Kwik Superette
534 Lynnfield Street
Stop and Shop | #67
35 Washington Street
Walgreens | #2823
841 Western Avenue
This gets a fine
Proper placement

Food waste

Food waste is the ickiest part of trash, and 18% of our trash is estimated to be food waste.  You can compost if you have a composter.  Since we live in a city, many of us do not have yard space.  If you have a garbage disposal, use it.   Still, things like bones, banana and platanos peels etc. cannot go into a garbage disposal.  You can freeze your food waste by leaving a container you fill up in the freezer.  Put it into the trash on trash day.  That way you and pests like rats and raccoons will never smell it.  It'll be gone in the truck before it ever defrosts.  You'll also keep your trash cart cleaner, and a clean cart is a cart that does not attract pests.