During the holiday season, Americans throw away more material than at any other time of the year. According the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the volume of household waste in the United States generally increases 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, approximately 1 million extra tons.
Santa Rosa County encourages residents to reduce, recycle and reuse materials during the holiday season in these simple ways suggested by the EPA:
Recycle Live Christmas Trees
Live Christmas trees can be dropped off until Thursday, Jan. 31 at five county recycling areas. The trees will be chipped and offered as free mulch at Clean Community System in Milton at a later date to be announced. When dropping off trees, please place the trees in the designated area identified by signage. Do not place trees in front of the recycling containers. Trees can be disposed at (Maps available online at http://www.santarosa.fl.gov/recycle ):
– Clean Community System/Green-Up Nursery, 6758 Park Ave., Milton
– Jay Transfer Station, Transfer Station Road, Jay
– Five Points Recycle Area, Chumuckla Hwy., Pace
– Navarre Beach Boat Ramp Parking Lot Recycle Area, Gulf Boulevard., Navarre Beach
– Tiger Point Recreation Area in Gulf Breeze, east of Walmart
Glass, metal, plastic containers, paper and cardboard can be recycled with curbside collections by residential garbage collection service, taking the items to the Central Landfill or Gulf Breeze and Jay transfer stations, or by bringing items to one of the 19 recycling drop off sites located throughout the county. The containers will be serviced quickly and often, but usage will be extremely high after Christmas. When using the recycling drop of sites, be sure to deposit only recyclable materials and place your items in the containers. A list of all Santa Rosa County recycling points and acceptable materials can also be found on the county’s website at: www.santarosa.fl.gov/recycle.
Give gifts that require little or no packaging, such as the gift of your time (cooking, babysitting or gardening), a charitable donation or tickets to an event.
Reduce Shopping Bags
When going shopping, bring reusable cloth bags or tell store clerks you don’t need a bag for small or oversized purchases. Or combine your purchases into one bag rather than getting a new bag at each store. Thousands of paper and plastic shopping bags end up in landfills every year.
Use Reusable Dishware
Avoid using disposable dishes and utensils when entertaining friends and family, and if you must use them, buy them made from recycled or compostable material. Remember to place easily identifiable recycling and compost containers at your celebration so guests can recycle soda cans, bottles, and paper products and compost food scraps.
Reuse Gift Wrapping
Use cool wrapping materials. Reuse maps, the Sunday comics, and posters. Wrap gifts without a box. And remember to save ribbons, bows and bags to reuse next year.
Residents are reminded that recycle areas are not disposal areas for furniture or household garbage that is not sorted, recyclable material. Please do not dispose of carpet, furniture, toilets, sinks, vinyl flooring, or wicker furniture in the recycle bins. Not only can people be fined for illegal dumping, it can cause the site to be closed or relocated, which can be a great inconvenience to those that are using the site as intended. The removal of materials out of the recycle containers such as aluminum cans, plastics or other items is also illegal. This material is property of the county’s recycle contractor.
For more information, contact the Santa Rosa County Environmental Department at 850-981-7135.