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How To Handle Post-Christmas Waste

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 23 Dec 2011 12:42pm | comments
The White House Christmas Tree

Every year between Thanksgiving and New Years, Mississippians throw away 25-percent more trash compared normal weeks...Nationally, that adds up to more than 1-million extra tons of trash every week.

Much of the paper and plastic waste can be recycled, food waste can be turned into compost and old clothes and toys can be donated to charity.

New electronic gadgets are popular gifts, but electronics also contain potentially hazardous material says Chris Lumaghini, president of the electronics recycling company Magnolia Data Solutions.

Recycling not only reduces land fill size, it makes recycling centers more profitable, can lower the cost of goods and can create jobs.

Recycling programs vary from city to city, so it is necessary to check to with local authorities to find out what programs are available.

"Lead, mercury, cadmium, PCBs, the list can go on and on. Eventually, with those electronics being dumped into a landfill, it will leach into the ground water. Which will contaminate the water we are drinking and the environment," Lumaghini said.

Lumaghini says electronics need to be take to specialized recycling centers so their useful parts can be salvaged and hazardous waste properly disposed of.

New cellular phones also topped many wish-lists, turning the old phone into an outdated paper weight.

Bob Berquist runs the non-profit Cell Phones for Soldiers which collects old phones, recycles them and then uses the money to provide phone cards for troops overseas.

"On average, every phone that is donated gives a soldier about an hour of talk time. Not only are they helping a soldier, they are to use their brand new phone," Berquist said.

Nearly 30-million pine trees were cut and turned into Christmas trees around America this season, but their usefulness does not end when the lights come down.

Rick Dungey with the National Christmas Tree Association says trees can be recycled and have a productive second life such as being turned into plant mulch.

"We use mulch for all kinds of things from hiking trails and a lot of parks departments use them to put around the plants. A lot of coast areas will help restore sand dunes using whole trees post-Christmas and it helps stop beach erosion," Dungey said.

Recycling not only reduces land fill size, it makes recycling centers more profitable, can lower the cost of goods and can create jobs.

Recycling programs vary from city to city, so it is necessary to check to with local authorities to find out what programs are available.

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The White House Christmas Tree


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