For Immediate Release
Holiday Recycling Tips
As the holiday season approaches, the amount of solid waste generated by cooking, decorating and gift packaging increases significantly. The City of Springfield’s Solid Waste Management Division has a number of suggestions to reduce holiday waste and create a safer holiday environment.
Cooking Grease Disposal:
Large holiday meals may generate more cooking grease than cooks are used to disposing of normally. Please be advised that cooking grease can create problems for the City’s sewer lines. Grease should not be poured down the drain, even while running hot water. It will still cool and solidify as it moves through the sewer line. Here are tips for disposing of grease in the most environmentally friendly way.
- Pour grease into a metal or glass container and place in the trash. Or line a container by pouring cooled grease into a plastic bag or use a heat-resistant liner.
- Use a lid for a container holding liquid grease. Containers of solid grease do not need a lid.
- Scrape food and grease from dishes and pans prior to washing, rather than using a garbage disposal for greasy scraps. This type of waste also can be placed in the trash, or appropriate types of scraps can be composted.
- Use a basket or strainer in the sink to catch greasy food scraps.
- A copy of a brochure on “fat-free sewers” is available at: www.springfieldmo.gov/sanitary/fog.html or contact: Randy Lyman, Public Works Department, Sanitary Services Division, 864-1921.
Reduce Holiday Toxics:
This time of year also creates extra risks of toxic exposure with decorations, candles and wrapping. Here are some ways to reduce those risks.
- Do not burn wrapping paper - the colored paper contains lead and other heavy metals.
- Do not use imported, decorative candles that emit black smoke - this often indicates the presence of lead in the wick.
- Bubble lights can contain a toxic liquid; bulbs can cause burns - don’t leave young children alone with decorated trees.
- Mistletoe is highly toxic to children and pets - use artificial rather than the real thing. Other plants with toxic or irritating characteristics include: amaryllis (bulb), balsam, cedar, Christmas cactus, Christmas rose, elderberry, English Ivy, holly, juniper, narcissus (bulb) and several types of lily.
- Make sure your home is “childproof” when young visitors come: put cleaners and pesticides out of reach; don’t leave alcohol, perfume or after-shave under the tree.
Reduce Wrapping Waste:
Here are some ways to recycle, reduce and re-use wrapping and packing materials.
- Paperboard (example: wrapping paper rolls and cardboard) is easily recycled at the City of Springfield’s Recycling Centers.
- Paper Christmas gift wrap also is accepted, but plastic, mylar or foil wrapping is not recyclable. For hours, days and other information about the Recycling Centers, visit www.springfieldmo.gov/recycling or call the hotline at 864-1904.
- Styrofoam packing peanuts and sheets can be recycled in several locations in Springfield. Call the Hotline or visit the Web site listed above for information.
- Make the wrapping a part of the gift; for example, wrap a kitchen utensil in a new kitchen towel.
- Take a canvas or reusable bag for shopping, or consolidate purchases into one big bag rather than getting a new bag at each stop.
- Decorate brown paper sacks as wrap using rubber stamps, recycled Christmas cards, or drawings or recycle old comic sections, maps, or children’s art work for giftwrap.
The holiday season also tends to generate more trash, so residents are encouraged to use best practices for disposal.
- Make sure your trash is bagged securely so it doesn’t blow out of trash-collection vehicles.
- Take your live tree to end-of-season collections around town. These collected trees are used to create habitat or mulch. Call the City’s Recycling Hotline (864-1904) or visit the City’s Web site for locations and dates.
- When disposing of product packaging from gifts, please consider sorting for proper recycling. The City’s Recycling Centers and curbside recycling programs accept mixed papers, with the exception of the foil wrapping paper and pasteboard (if you can scrap a waxy substance off with your fingernail, it’s not recyclable with mixed papers).
- Cardboard is accepted separately from mixed papers at the Recycling Centers. Please flatten boxes and remove staples and tape.
- Plastics marked 1-7 are now accepted at the Centers as well as curbside. A guide to more specific do’s and don’ts for plastics is available at:
- If you receive a new computer or other electronics, please recycle or dispose of old electronics properly. The Computer Recycling Center accepts many old electronics for free. Visit www.computerrecyclingcenter.org or call 866-2588.
For more information, contact: Barbara J. Lucks, Materials Recovery/Education Coordinator, 864-2005;