Earth Friendly: Make a recycling resolution

Am I the only one on the sofa recuperating from all the holiday parties with decorations and party mess still staring them in the face? If there's anyone else out there like my family, the tree is still up until Jan. 6 or remnants of the New Year's party of the century are scattered through the house. The trash cart can get packed quickly.

So, I sit and write this column to help ease the stress of beginning a new year. Needless to say, it reminds me of how much cleaning up I have yet to do.

There's no time like the present to start using that recycle cart. In fact, the recycle cart could save customers that don't normally use it from a bad case of the overflows. Here are a few helpful holiday wrap-up hints and tips to deal with any extra waste generated during the holidays.

There are a large number of items that can be placed in the recycle bin, making more room in your regular garbage for the things that can't be recycled. As usual, you can recycle any plastics that may or may not be marked (as long as it's not Styrofoam), metal cans, glass bottles or jars, paper and cardboard. Some items left from the holidays that are recyclable are foil sheets or trays, plastic bags, toy packaging, chip/candy bags, paper party hats, egg nog cartons with a wax coating, parchment paper from countless batches of cookies and wrapping paper including the tube it came on and the plastic it was wrapped in. Don't count out broken glass from dropped snow globes or fumbled stemware.

Alas, some items must go in the garbage like that string of lights that doesn't blink anymore, large light bulbs (like the C9 bulbs that go on old-school Christmas lights), fake trees/garland, ornaments, ribbon, tinsel, those little Styrofoam packing peanuts and real or artificial trees with fake flocking snow as most flocking mixtures contain chemicals. We even advise throwing broken ornaments in the garbage, as well. There is just no way to tell what they have been decorated with; if they are like my "baby's first ornament," than it may be decorated with lead paints.

There's good news for those who opted for a real tree this year. Once it is stripped of lights, ornaments and the tree stand, it can be placed out with your regular yard waste starting Jan. 7. Even those wreaths made from real foliage, like my mom makes every year. Any other decorations that are made from real foliage can also be set out with regular yard waste. Flocked trees decorated with fake snow will not be accepted.

After seeing how much room can be saved in your regular trash cart, I challenge us all to adopt a resolution of recycling at least one thing a day. Making small changes add up to a big difference. Here's to a greener new year. Cheers.

Kate Garcia is the interim programs coordinator for the City of Victoria, Environmental Services.