Susan Buckley, RN, Director, Public Health
Ira Singh, MPH, Deputy Director
Donald I. Baird, MD, Health Officer

Division of Environmental Health


Date Released: 12/20/2004
Subject: Holidays 2004
Contact: Brian Cox, Director, Environmental Health Division
Phone: (707) 445-6215

The California Integrated Waste Management Board estimates that “between Thanksgiving and the New Year an extra million tons of waste are generated nationwide each week. In fact, 38,000 miles of ribbon alone is thrown out each year--enough to tie a bow around the Earth!”

How have you done this “Hauliday” season? Fortunately, there are alternatives to trim down what gets hauled away to landfills. Waste reduction also helps to reduce garbage bills, as well as save energy and natural resources. The following list has been compiled as a way to handle items commonly generated during the holidays.

Christmas Trees: Christmas trees can be ground into mulch and reused for decorative purposes, erosion control or trail maintenance. All ornaments should be removed, no tinsel should remain and trees should not be flocked (fake snow). Do not place your trees in plastic bags.

Arcata: North Coast Quality Compost at 3000 St. Louis in Arcata will take trees for free to Arcata Residents or a small fee for others. Their open hours are Wednesday, Friday, & Sunday between 9-5 and Saturday 12-4. Call 822-8184 for more information.

Blue Lake: A bin at Blue Lake’s Perigot Park will be available to accept trees between December 27 and January 8.

Eureka: The Hawthorne Street Transfer Station at 1059 W Hawthorne will accept trees for free until January 15. Eureka residents can also call City Garbage, 442-5711, to have trees picked up curbside on Saturday, January 8 and 15 for a $5.00 fee.

Ferndale: On Sunday, January 9, Ferndale residents can take trees to the City Barn on Francis Street or, if transportation is not an option, place it curbside by 9am to be picked up by Ferndale High’s “S” Club volunteers.

Fortuna: Eel River Disposal located at 965 Riverwalk Drive will accept trees for free until January 15.

McKinleyville: Humboldt Sanitation at 2585 Central Avenue will accept trees for free until January 15. Curbside participants can have trees picked up for $1.00 per foot.

Rio Dell: Rio Dell residents can take trees to the Pacific Lumber green-waste site in Scotia.

Trinidad: Trinidad residents can drop their trees off at a bin in the Murphy’s Market parking lot from January 4 through January 11.

Gift paper and boxes: Wrapping paper is recyclable if it is not foil or plastic coated. If the paper tears easily and is white where torn then it is paper and therefore for recyclable. Excessive tape, ribbons, bows and other contaminants should be removed. Cardboard boxes should be flattened and all packing material removed prior to recycling. Newspaper can also be recycled.

Packing Peanuts: The Arcata Community Recycling Center (M-F 9-6, Sat-Sun 9-5) and the Eureka Community Recycling Center (M-F 8-5, Sat 8-4, Sun 10-4) accept Styrofoam peanuts for reuse. Peanuts should be clean, dry and contained to minimize blowing. Be sure to check out the ACRC first if you need to buy packing peanuts.

Food Waste: Food waste not including meats, fats, or dairy products can be composted. Compost piles are easy to maintain and can help a family reduce their waste stream year round.

Unwanted Holiday Ornamentation: Inquire at local thrift stores about their policies on accepting old ornaments and other holiday related items.

Visit for tips on reducing waste during the holiday season as well as great ‘green’ gift ideas. For more information about any of the reuse or recycling sites call Humboldt County’s Waste Reduction Hotline at 268-2225.


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