The city of Madison is looking to stay green by reducing waste produced by the holiday season.
At least 25 percent more waste is produced during the holidays than any other time of year, according to a statement from the city.
Madison Recycling Coordinator George Dreckmann said this is partly as a result of the high volume of gifts being purchased and given.
“When you’re giving people things, those things are usually replacing things,” Dreckmann explained. “Something ends up getting discarded as a result of the purchase.”
The cost to dispose of waste is increasing, and the more society spends on trash, Dreckmann said, the less funding is available to spend on other needs.
He said while it is always important to reduce waste, the holidays are a great time to become environmentally conscious because there are so many ways to do so.
“At this time of year, because there are so many other things we do that contribute to waste, it provides you with more opportunities to reduce waste,” Dreckmann said. “That’s one of the nice things about trying to reduce waste over the holiday period.”
Dreckmann emphasized giving gifts that stray away from traditional consumer goods. The statement suggested giving “an experience,” like tickets to a sporting event or a gift card for a spa.
He added gifting used items is an easy and inexpensive way for college kids to give great gifts without any waste.
Wrapping paper is also a main cause of waste and spending during the holidays, Dreckmann said. He suggested using newspapers or magazine pages.
“You can totally recycle the material when you get it off the gift. That’s a good thing to do [to reduce waste],” Dreckmann said. “Quite often we have access to containers that can be reused. That’s the kind of thing that you could do in terms of cutting back on the wrapping paper side.”
According to the statement, the Streets Division has created a website to provide information for those interested in lightening the waste load during the holidays. The committee has also created a new drop-off recycling program for Styrofoam products.