SAN DIEGO — The holidays are here, and with numerous parties and gifts expected this month, waste will stack up across the county.
Project Clean Water shares tips on staying eco-friendly to ensure you are on the 'nice list' for Santa and Mother Nature.
HomeAdvisor.com says the most searched topic on Google for San Diego is whether or not Christmas wrapping paper is recyclable. (Click here to see the full report). The answer is yes unless it features this element.
"Metallic wrapping paper cannot be recycled, and that has to do with the inks that have," explained Chelsea McGimpsey with Project Clean Water.
She suggests wrapping paper with soy-based inks or brown paper wrapping found at mail packing stores.
She also points out that using gift-wrapping bows could land you on Santa's 'naughty list.'
Gift-wrapping bows are slicked in a thin plastic coat to give them more shine. This makes their single-use plastic waste. Even the light, soft plastic bag most bows are packaged in should go into the trashcan. Chelsea says to remember the following rules when it comes to reducing plastics.
"Maybe it's a wrapping for something you got for Christmas, you know, but if you can ball it up in your hand, that needs to go in the trash. We can't recycle soft plastics. They tend to get stuck in the machines that separate our materials. If it's a hard plastic, that can go in the recycling as long as there is no food on it," said McGimpsey.
With the trash we rack up here in San Diego during the holiday season and our everyday waste, we must be mindful of our county's watershed health. According to Project Clean Water, household waste increases roughly 25% from Thanksgiving to Christmas. So if our waste is not handled correctly, it is a significant issue, especially for our ocean.
"About 80% of trash reaching our oceans comes from inland. So, this is all getting carried down as it rains or when it is windy, carries it into our waterways, which then conveys it to the ocean," explained McGimpsey.
Whether you celebrate at home, work, or outside across our county in places like Chollas Lake Park with the ducks, remember that the waste you leave behind could be more unpleasant than getting a lump of coal in your stocking, especially during this rainy season.
"But if you are near a roadway, it'll also end up in a storm drain, which can clog. Storm drains were built to prevent flooding. So, the next time it rains, if you've got a bunch of trash clogging that, then that neighbor is going to flood," exclaimed McGimpsey.
And that sounds like a more giant headache than holiday travel. So please have a happy and safe holiday season San Diego!
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