Residents Reminded to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle During the Holiday Season and Throughout the Year

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, November 25, 2015 Montgomery County residents can help protect the environment during the upcoming holiday season which traditionally yields additional amounts of waste. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) offers the following tips to help reduce, reuse, and recycle. Unwanted Mail: •In the weeks leading up to the holidays, many households receive larger quantities of advertisements, sale flyers and catalogs. Before placing unwanted mail into the recycling bin, residents should take a moment to remove their names from the company’s mailing list. Often, all that is needed is a call to a toll-free number provided in the mailing. •Another way to help reduce the volume of unwanted mail received at any time of the year is to register on a “Do Not Mail” list with any of a number of organizations offering this type of service. One such service, Catalog Choice, can be accessed at The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is another organization which provides a similar service. To register, visit Or, download the form from that site, complete and mail it to: DMA Choice, Direct Marketing Association, PO Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512. Shopping: • Take along reusable bags when shopping which eliminates the need to pay for and use new paper or plastic shopping bags. • Consolidate smaller-sized purchases into one bag, rather than getting a new bag for each item. Ask for a bag only if necessary. • When buying gifts that are mailed, select items that are easy to ship and don’t require excess packaging. • Shop for gifts at consignment shops, antique stores or estate sales – one person’s unwanted item is another person’s treasure. • Buy and give reusable bags as gifts; there are many unique types, sizes, materials and designs of reusable bags available that are useful beyond the holidays. Wrapping: • Items that must be shipped or mailed can be wrapped in reused brown or decorative paper bags. • Many gift boxes are attractive enough that they don’t need wrapping. Add a reusable ribbon or bow. • Gift bags are a great idea. They can save time and effort when wrapping gifts, and can also be reused by the recipient. • For oversized or bulky gift items such as furniture, artwork, sports equipment, or bicycles, tie a ribbon and bow around them. • Wrap the top of boxes, rather than the entire box. • Sunday comics, outdated maps and remnants of fabrics or brown paper decorated with stencils, glitter, and twine can be unique gift wraps. • Reuse wrapping paper – have scissors or letter openers handy when opening gifts so paper doesn’t get damaged when removing tape. • Make the wrap a part of the actual gift, for example, put baked goods in a wicker basket, candies in a ceramic bowl, a scarf in a dresser top organizer, jewelry in cosmetic train case. • Reuse packing cartons and shipping materials such as plastic air pillows, shredded paper or newspaper and bubble wrap. Donate excess packaging materials to local mailing centers. • Consider giving gifts that require minimal or no wrapping: tickets to sports events, concerts, and/or performances, gift certificates or gift cards, and plants. Entertaining: • Don’t throw out leftovers. Put them in reusable containers for guests to take home with them or save them to enjoy later. • Holiday cooking can generate many types of items such as bottles, jars, cans and containers that can be recycled in the County’s recycling program. Before recycling them, consider whether any of them can be reused for storing leftovers. Be sure to recycle all the rest. • Use durable, reusable dishes, glassware, flatware, table cloths and cloth napkins instead of disposable items. Consider renting these items if needed. • Purchase food items in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging. • Make creative centerpieces and decorations out of things around the house or yard, such as pinecones, sprigs, leaves, branches, etc. Christmas Tree Recycling: •When the holidays are over, recycle live Christmas trees. Christmas trees are given a new use when they are composted or chipped for mulch. •Remove the stand and all decorations – including lights, ornaments, tinsel and garlands and leave no metal attached to the tree. •County residents of single-family homes may recycle Christmas trees at the curb on their regular recycling collection day. Businesses and residents of apartments and condominiums should check with their property/business managers or representatives for specific instructions on recycling Christmas trees. •Live Christmas tree branches and needles can be recycled at home by placing them under trees and shrubs or adding them to a compost bin. DEP is working to reduce waste and recycle 70 percent of the waste stream by 2020 by reducing the amount of waste generated and recycling everything that is possible to recycle to ensure clean land, air and water. The County continues to have one of the highest waste diversion rates (the combination of recycling rate and source reduction activities) in Maryland, and ongoing efforts in recycling initiatives by residents, employees and others is essential as the County strives to achieve its ambitious recycling goal. For more information or questions about reducing waste and recycling at home or at work, visit or call Montgomery County’s Customer Service Center at 311 (out-of-County: 240-777-0311, TTY: 301-251-4850). # # # Release ID: 15-413 Media Contact: Judy Stiles 240-777-6507]]>

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