Stockton Christmas Tree Collection

12-11-2018

Recycle your Christmas tree curbside! Between December 26 and January 15, place your Christmas tree next to your cart for collection. Your service provider will remove the Christmas tree to be properly recycled.

Please note:

  • All lightstinsel, metal ornaments and metal stands must be removed from the trees.
  • If your tree is longer than six feet, it must be cut in half to be collected.

The Best Way to Get Rid of All Your Holiday Gift Wrap

holiday gift wrap

12-9-2018

The winter holidays are here, and they’re brimming with holiday cheer. Unfortunately, the winter holidays are also brimming with waste! Here in the U.S., we generate an extra one million tons of waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Trash might not be at the top of your holiday priorities, but this quick guide will give you all the information you need to dispose of gift wrap correctly — and even help you reduce the waste you create in the first place.

Wrapping Paper

If it has metallic foil or has glitter: This wrapping paper is not recyclable. Toss it in the trash.

If it is plain: This wrapping paper can be recycled — just remove excess tape first.

Reduce: Avoid wrapping paper with foil or glitter, and don’t toss wrapping paper after it’s been used — fold it and put it away for next year. You can also consider buying wrapping paper made from recycled material.

If you want to cut down on waste even further, wrap your presents with newspaper, scrap paper, or reusable fabric. Wrapping gifts in fabric is both beautiful and eco-friendly. It’s very popular in Japan, where they call it furoshiki. Download this PDF guide to learn how to wrap anything by furoshiki. Or, check out Pinterest for more fabric-wrapping ideas.

Bows, Ribbon and Tinsel

Bows, ribbon and tinsel cannot be recycled. Toss them in the trash.

Reduce: Save your decorations and reuse them next year! Bows can always be taped onto a new package. You can also add used decorations to your arts and crafts supply for a future project.

Gift Bags

Gift bags aren’t always recyclable. If your gift bag is glossy, that means it’s made from a plastic-paper combination, and it needs to go in the trash. If your gift bag isn’t glossy, and it doesn’t have metallic foil or glitter, it can be recycled. Remove all ribbons and bows before putting it in your recycling.

Reduce: Return your gift bag to the sender to reuse, or save the gift bag and regift it next year. Gift bags can also be handy for storing items around the house or bringing things along on car trips.

Tissue Paper

Tissue paper cannot be recycled. Toss it in the trash.

Reduce: Save your tissue paper for next year if it’s in OK shape. If it’s a little on the battered side, save it to use as packing material the next time you’re sending a package or putting something into storage.

You can also skip buying tissue paper altogether. Try cutting up an old magazine or other recyclable paper (such as regular paper or even newspaper) to use for your gifts instead.

Want more ideas for how to make your holiday eco-friendly? Check out our guide to minimalist gift-giving.

How the Plastic in Our Clothes Is Polluting Our Water

plastic in our clothes

12-2-2018

Communities in California have been rallying around the issue of plastic pollution, addressing major culprits from plastic bags to straws to water bottles. One huge culprit that hasn’t been addressed yet is the plastic in our clothes — simply by washing them, we’re polluting our water.

How is that possible? About 60 percent of all clothing in recent years has been made from synthetic fabrics — polyester, nylon, and acrylic, to name a few. Unlike clothing made from natural fabrics, such as cotton, these materials are made from plastic fibers that won’t ever fully biodegrade. Instead, they’ll continue to break down into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic. Over time, this plastic will accumulate in our water, our soil and our bodies.

One load of laundry is estimated to shake loose anywhere from 1,900 to 200,000 plastic microfibers. The microfiber-full water from our laundry machines travels to nearby water treatment plants, where some of these fibers are removed. However, most of them are too small to be filtered out of the water. The rest of the microfibers go on to enter rivers, lakes and oceans.

A recent study showed that over 80 percent of tap water tested positive for plastic fibers. Scientists aren’t completely sure what the health risks of consuming plastic microfibers are. However, studies have shown in zooplankton, microfiber consumption affects growth and reproduction. A similar study on crabs showed that those eating a small amount of microfibers ate less overall and had less energy.

So if we’re tired of drinking our plastic clothes, what can we do about it?

  1. Purchase clothing made from natural fibers whenever possible, and avoid synthetic fabrics.
  2. Wear — and wash — synthetic clothes less frequently.
  3. Use front-loading laundry machines, because they loosen fewer fibers than top-loaders.
  4. Use liquid laundry soap instead of powder soap.
  5. Wash clothes on cold water instead of hot. Hot water is tougher on them, and causes more fibers to loosen.
  6. If you have the means, consider installing a home water filter for microfibers.
  7. Try using a device to collect the fibers in your washing machine, such as a Cora Ball or a Guppyfriend.
  8. Make sure to put dryer lint in the trash — never wash it down the drain.

Still curious? Learn more about how you can reduce the impact of clothing on the environment.

You Can Recycle Plastic Bags, But Not at the Curb

11-25-18

When you put plastic bags in your curbside recycling, they won’t get recycled. What’s more, plastic bags make it difficult for recycling facilities to recycle their other materials.

But this doesn’t mean you can’t recycle plastic bags. In fact, because plastic bags are a top pollutant and dangerous to marine life, they are one of the most important materials to recycle.

Watch this video to see why you can’t recycle plastic bags curbside. Learn how you can recycle plastic bags here.

Wasting Food at Thanksgiving? Not This Year

thanksgiving food

11-18-2018

Thanksgiving is a great holiday, full of delicious home-cooked food, quality time with friends and family, and sometimes a little football! It’s also all about being grateful — and what better way to be grateful than by sharing a delicious meal with your favorite people?

But on a holiday that’s all about gratitude, it’s surprising how much food can be wasted. Unfortunately, it’s pretty common — as much as 40 percent of food in America goes to waste. And the amount of waste we generate over the holidays is 25 percent more than during the rest of the year.

Don’t worry — by following a few of our tips, your Thanksgiving celebration can practice more gratitude for food than ever.

1. Estimate how much food you’ll need to make in advance. Make a guest list and ask everyone to RSVP so you have an accurate headcount. Then, use the NRDC’s Guest-imator, which will help you plan portions based on how many guests you’re expecting. If that seems too confusing, try these guidelines from The Spruce.

2. Plan fewer side dishes, especially ones that only a couple of people will want. Make sure your side dishes are ones you would personally enjoy eating as leftovers once the big day is over.

3. Shop smart. Buy groceries you know you’ll use based on your recipes, and calculate the quantities you need ahead of time. That way you won’t have leftover ingredients that you don’t have time to use.

4. Less peeling, less work! When it comes to vegetables such as potatoes and carrots, skip the peeling. Vegetable skins have a lot of nutritional value, and they just need to be rinsed clean. Plus, if you peel less, you’ll make less food waste, and you’ll have less work to do! Who doesn’t want Thanksgiving cooking to be easier?

5. Assign your guests specific dishes to bring. If everyone has a specific dish to bring, you won’t end up with duplicate dishes (that won’t get eaten).

6. Make plans for your leftovers. The possibilities for Thanksgiving leftovers are endless, and far from boring — take a look at this list by Taste of Home for inspiration. Do you always end up with leftover turkey and bread? Make some extra cranberry sauce for turkey sandwiches! Once you have a plan in place, you’ll be more likely to follow through. If you don’t think you’ll be able to use up all your leftovers in time, freeze them and enjoy that turkey whenever you’re in the mood.

7. Send leftovers home with guests in reusable food containers, or even in the containers they brought their side dishes in.

8. Compost your food scraps. No matter how hard you try, you’re always going to end up with a few scraps here and there. (Onion skins, anyone?) Put them to good use by tossing them in a compost bin, worm bin, or green/food waste cart.

Happy Thanksgiving!

America Recycles Day

11-11-2018

America Recycles Day is November 15th. This day is the perfect time to recognize how much recycling helps our country and our planet.

Recycling is a big job. In the U.S., recycling and reuse activities provide 757,000 jobs and produce $36 billion in wages each year. All these jobs and wages go to a good cause — according to the EPA, the U.S. is able to keep 34.7 percent of its trash out of the landfill through recycling and composting.

In honor of America Recycles Day, challenge yourself to find new ways to use less and recycle more. Need some inspiration? Here are some ideas to get you started:

Happy recycling!

How Recycling Works

10-28-2018

A lot of us know that recycling helps us reduce our use of raw materials, and it prevents valuable resources from being sent to landfills. But, how many of us know how the recycling process actually works?

Watch this video to see what happens after your recyclables get picked up at the curb.

Recycling Plastic Is Great, But Not as Great as Avoiding Plastic in the First Place

8-21-2018

The issue of plastic pollution has turned into what some would call an environmental crisis. In the last couple of years, we’ve learned that the plastic in the world’s oceans will weigh more than the ocean’s fish by 2050, and microscopic plastic particles have quickly been working their way into our water supply. In fact, it’s estimated that over 90 percent of U.S. tap water contains microplastics, and we don’t yet know what the health effects of this are.

Many corporations have been responding to plastic pollution by making pledges to transition away from disposable plastics in favor of recyclable plastics. For instance, this past summer, Starbucks announced that it will phase out plastic straws by 2020, and will replace them with a recyclable sippy cup lid similar to other single-use coffee lids.

But is it enough to switch to recyclable plastic? Unfortunately, it isn’t. The world is struggling to recycle all of the plastic that we currently have. A lot of plastic that is considered “recyclable” still ends up in the landfill.

Now that China is no longer accepting the bulk of U.S. plastic waste, Americans are being forced to address the realities of so-called “recyclable” plastic at home. Fewer plastics are being collected for recycling nationwide. As it turns out, the new Starbucks lid may not be recyclable in most areas after all.

Ultimately, this doesn’t change how important it is to recycle plastic. In fact, we should recycle all the plastic we possibly can, at all times. We don’t want valuable materials ending up in the landfill, and we don’t want to create more plastic than we need.

But even though recycling is great, it isn’t enough on its own. It would be even better if we could learn to reduce the plastic we’re using in the first place. By avoiding unnecessary consumption and switching to reusable materials, we can take a lot of pressure off of landfills and recycling centers.

Try to avoid single-use plastics as much as possible, and use only plastics that can be recycled locally. The less plastic we use, the less we need to recycle — and the less we’ll pollute our environment.

Learn more about what plastics we recycle in Stockton.

Tips to Green Your Halloween

10-14-2018

Halloween is a fun-filled holiday for kids and adults alike, but from candy wrappers galore to discarded pumpkins to throwaway costumes, it can also be a waste-filled holiday. In 2016 alone, Americans spent over $8 billion on Halloween items. That adds up to a scary amount of trash!

Just because Halloween colors are black and orange doesn’t mean the holiday can’t be green. Try these easy tips to help!

Costumes

Instead of buying a brand new costume each year (that may never be used again), use one of these tips for repurposing old clothes and costumes:

  • Shop for costumes at local thrift stores.
  • Recycle costumes from past years into new ones by mixing and matching pieces, adding different makeup or accessories, or passing them down from older children to younger children.
  • Make costumes out of clothing you already have. By adding makeup and accessories you can easily turn regular clothing to turn it into a costume. You’ll limit how much you need to buy, and avoid wearing the bulk of your costume only once.
  • Get inventive! Create a costume out of items you have lying around the house, such as cardboard boxes. You can check out Pinterest for DIY cardboard box costume ideas.
  • Share or exchange costumes with friends! A Halloween costume exchange can be a fun activity for friends or children of similar ages.
  • Don’t toss your costumes — save the ones you know you can reuse or repurpose into new costumes, or donate them to local thrift stores or theater programs. If a costume is no longer usable, dispose of it with other clothing and textiles.

Decorations

  • Opt for natural decorations, such as pumpkins, gourds, leaves and pinecones. These make great accents and table centerpieces that are also biodegradable.
  • If you’re decorating with pumpkins and gourds, remember that they can be composted! You can also toast and eat the seeds, or put dried seeds outside for birds and squirrels to eat.
  • Make your own Halloween decorations from newspaper and scrap paper, which can be recycled.
  • Choose decorations that can be saved and reused from year to year, instead of buying new ones each season.
  • Avoid plastic decorations such as fake cobwebs and plastic rings that are messy, easily lost, or quickly discarded. Plastic decorations like these are also not recyclable, so make sure they end up in the trash when they’re no longer wanted.

Candy

  • To collect candy, have your kids use pillowcases or reusable bags instead of store-bought plastic buckets. (The pillowcases will hold more candy, anyway.)
  • Be sure to toss all candy wrappers — they are not recyclable!

Happy Halloween!