Daily Press (Sunday)

Holiday recycling: Tips for a sustainabl­e season

Trees, wrapping paper have uses for after Christmas

- By Eliza Noe

As the gift-giving season comes to a close, residents still have opportunit­ies to incorporat­e sustainabl­e habits during the holidays.

Old Christmas trees are often used for beach refurbishm­ent, including on the Outer Banks and at Naval Air Station Oceana. Each year, hundreds of trees that previously provided holiday joy for Hampton Roads have been used for restoratio­n work.

This year, the Virginia Aquarium is hosting a tree drop-off event with Marine Stewards America to recycle Christmas trees in support of marine-focused conservati­on. Starting Tuesday, residents can drop off trees at the aquarium’s overflow lot — but are encouraged to register online first. Trees will be used to control erosion, provide nutrients for beach plants, create habitats for beach animals and keep waste out of the landfill.

According to AskHRGreen, a region-wide environmen­tal program to raise public awareness for sustainabi­lity, there are a variety of eco-friendly disposal options. Many cities in Hampton Roads are offering options to compost or turn the trees into mulch, and some have already begun collection.

All ornaments, stands and lights should be removed from trees before being disposed.

Suffolk: Tree pickup will begin Tuesday and run through Jan. 7. Trees can be picked up curbside, and it will not count as a “special pick up” for the immediate two weeks after Christmas Day.

Chesapeake: Trees will be picked up at curbside on regular trash collection day.

Portsmouth: Christmas tree pickup is ongoing, and residents should leave their trees on their curb on their regularly scheduled trash day.

Norfolk: Natural trees are collected for composting on regular trash day.

Virginia Beach: Tree pick up is ongoing. If a resident places their tree on their curb, it will be hauled to the HRRC Landfill. Trees dropped off at the City Landfill and Resource Recovery Center will be chipped and used for mulch.

Newport News: From Thursday through Saturday, residents can drop their trees off on their curbs during regular bulk collection. Community members can also drop off trees from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday at the Recovery Operations Center located at 520 Atkinson Way. Trees will be mulched or composted.

Hampton: Trees will be picked up at curbside on regular trash collection day starting Tuesday. Trees should be separated from other bulk waste by at least 3 feet, and residents can also drop off trees to be recycled at the Yard Waste Transfer

Site located at 100 North Park Lane.

Trees will be mulched or composted at the Virginia Peninsula Public Service Authority Composting Facility. Mulch and compost are available for purchase by the public at the composting facility.

Poquoson: From Monday through Jan. 21, trees can be dropped off to be composted at the Municipal Pool Parking Lot at 18 Municipal Drive.

York County: During the week of Jan. 8-12, residents must place their tree at curbside by 7 a.m. Any tree taller that 6 feet should be cut in half, and York County residents can also deliver their Christmas trees to the Virginia Peninsula Public Service Authority Compost Facility (145 Goodwin Neck Road), from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Williamsbu­rg: Trees should be placed on curbs by 7 a.m. on regularly scheduled trash day during the first week of January.

In addition to Christmas trees, residents can recycle gift wrapping from the holidays.

According to a 2021 survey of 2,000 Americans who celebrate the winter holidays, about 60% said they create more waste than usual during the holidays. Results from the survey showed more than half of those polled, or 54%, said that “feeling wasteful” makes them feel less excited for the festivitie­s. Additional­ly, 56% of the respondent­s felt like they needed to choose between being sustainabl­e and enjoying the holiday season.

About 48% of surveyed Americans said they planned to buy reusable items instead of plastic and use sustainabl­e wrapping paper such as newspapers.

“Being a conscienti­ous consumer during the holidays could be the single greatest gift you give to the environmen­t,” said Rebekah Eastep, a team leader at AskHRGreen. “Think about giving thoughtful­ly by choosing presents that will give back to hearth, home and community, or that will make living a green lifestyle more attainable.”

Eliza Noe, eliza.noe @virginiame­dia.com

 ?? STAFF FILE ?? Christmas trees can be used to control erosion, provide nutrients for beach plants and create habitats for beach animals.
STAFF FILE Christmas trees can be used to control erosion, provide nutrients for beach plants and create habitats for beach animals.

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