How to deal with postholiday cleanup

Consumer Reports News: January 07, 2008 01:58 PM

Sure, you might spot a few houses around your town where the holiday decorations are still up, but your neighbors' laziness is no excuse for you. It's time to take down all your lights, newfangled blow-up characters, and other assorted adornments.

More important, you should also properly dispose of the packaging and wrapping paper, old electronics gear, strings of dead holiday lights—perhaps even a couple of fruitcakes—that have accumulated at your home since the end-of-year celebrations.

It's no surprise that recycling centers and municipal landfills get overwhelmed at holiday time. Indeed, the amount of garbage sent to the Rhode Island state landfill after the end-of-year holidays increases 31 percent, according to Sarah Kite, recycling manager for that state's Resource Recovery Corporation.

Americans throw away 25 percent more trash per day between Thanksgiving and New Year's than they do per day the rest of the year, according to Green Daily. In one area of Illinois, garbage handlers see the amount of garbage double and even triple on some days during the holiday season.

Many municipalities nationwide are trying to ease the burden on overflowing landfills and are working toward better and safer disposal of potentially dangerous items, including batteries, holiday lights, electronics gear, and toys (remember all those recalls of lead-tainted toys?).

Be sure to check with your municipal or county public-department for disposal and recycling information for all items. Also read this article and visit our Electronics Reuse & Recycling Center for detailed information on getting rid of your old TVs, computers, cell phones, and the like.

Essential information: "Be Green When You Clean" and "What to Do With Leftover Paint" will provide you with expert advice on disposing of building materials and paint.—Cyndi Schoenbrun, Senior Research Analyst


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