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Holiday solid waste service and tips for reducing waste

Seattle Public Utilities will not collect garbage, recycling or food and yard waste on Friday, Dec. 25, or Jan. 1. Those collections will occur the following day (Saturday).

If you subscribe to food and yard waste collection, you can put out your Christmas tree and other holiday greens on your regular collection day at no extra charge, from Dec. 26 through Jan. 10. (Multifamily buildings can put out one tree next to each food and yard waste cart per collection day at no extra charge.) Trees need to be cut into sections of six feet long or shorter, and branches trimmed to less than four feet, and bundled with string or non-plastic twine. Remove all ornaments and tinsel.

Also, since household waste increases by about 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day (adding up to one million extra tons of garbage a week nationwide), SPU has some tips to reduce waste:

1. Buy less food
Buy only what you need, if possible purchase local, in season, fresh items in smaller quantities.
2. Set up an area in your fridge for food that needs to be eaten soon
A designated box or shelf to put leftovers and food that needs to be eaten first is a good way to avoid wasting food.
3. Recycle your spent holiday lights
Do you have a pile of burned-out holiday lights? Are you replacing old holiday lights with energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) lights? Don’t throw out your holiday lights – recycle them! Holiday light recycling programs take your old light strands and recycle the copper wire inside them. Check online for locations.
4. Give green gifts
Avoid over-packaged gifts that need batteries or use lots of electricity. Consider crafting a gift or gifting a shared experience, like a visit to a museum or a zoo.
5. Buy well, buy once
Well-designed and constructed products that are repairable will last longer and usually save you money, even if they cost more initially.

And if you’re cleaning out your house now to make room for more stuff incoming, remember that you can even donate clothes that are ripped or stained through the Threadcycle network, which includes the Goodwill on 8th Avenue NW and NW 65th Street.

Here’s what happens to your donations:

  • 45 percent is reused as clothing either in the U.S. or other countries
  • 30 percent is converted into another item, such as a commercial wiping cloth
  • 20 percent is reprocessed into fiber used in new products, such as insulation
  • 5 percent is unable to be recycled, usually because it was wet, moldy, or contaminated with hazardous materials