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

Division of Environmental Health


Date Released: 12/16/2005
Subject: “Haulidays” Clean Up
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!” Fortunately, we have alternatives to trim down the amount of materials, which are usually hauled away to landfills. Waste reduction helps to reduce garbage bills, as well as save energy and natural resources. The best choice in waste reduction is to reduce from the very start, such as avoiding extra packaging, and when that is not an option refer to the list below for suggestions on reusing and recycling holiday-related items.

Food Waste: For starters, prepare smaller amounts of food and give smaller portions. When it is not avoided completely, compost any food waste. Compost piles or bins are easy to maintain and can help a family reduce their waste stream year round. Compost bins make great gifts and are available for purchase at the Arcata and Eureka Community Recycling Centers for only $25.00.

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 recyclable. Excessive tape, ribbons, bows and gift tags should be removed. Cardboard boxes should be flattened and all packing material removed prior to recycling. Newspaper can also be recycled.

Miscellaneous Holiday Materials: Inquire at local thrift stores about their policies on accepting ornaments, decorations, and other holiday-related items.

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. Be sure to check with ACRC first if you plan to buy packing peanuts.

Trees: Christmas trees can be ground into mulch and reused for landscaping purposes. 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. Trees can be recycled at the following locations:
Arcata: North Coast Quality Compost on Wednesday, Friday, & Sunday 9-5 and Saturday 12-4 at no charge, 822-8184.
Blue Lake: A collection bin at Perigot Park will accept trees from January 3 - 9.
Eureka: Hawthorne St. Transfer Station 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 7 and 14 for a $5.00 fee.
Ferndale: On Sunday, January 8, Ferndale residents can take trees to the City Barn on Francis Street, or place it curbside by 9am to be picked up by Ferndale High’s “S” Club.
Fortuna: Eel River Disposal (965 Riverwalk Drive) will accept trees for free until January 15.
McKinleyville: Humboldt Sanitation (2585 Central Avenue) will accept trees for free until January 15.
Rio Dell: Residents can take trees to the Pacific Lumber green waste site in Scotia.
Trinidad: Trinidad residents can drop their trees off at the Murphy’s Market parking lot bin from January 2 - 15.

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


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