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Issues of the Environment: Greener Holidays

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What to do with all of your holiday waste?  In this week's Issues of the Environment David Fair gets the best tips from Christine Chessler-Stull, Recycle Ann Arbor's Outreach and Zero Waste Coordinator.


Between Thanksgiving and Christmas we toss out one million extra tons of household trash each week! Fortunately, Washtenaw County residents have a wealth of resources available to them to help cut down on holiday waste, and Recycle Ann Arbor’s services are open to all county residents.

Christine Chessler-Stull, Recycle Ann Arbor’s Outreach & Zero Waste Coordinator, says that cutting down on holiday refuse starts with planning to be green and having a strategy for recycling the leftovers.

Holiday Waste Reduction Offerings from RAA
Batteries – Rechargeable Unusable rechargeable batteries and button batteries can be taken to the Drop-Off Station or Jackson Rd.
Bubble Wrap - Save quality bubble wrap to be reused. If the wrap can not be reused it should be taken to the Drop-Off Station.
Greeting Cards- Reuse cards in craft projects or donate the front page to The back page can be placed in your curbside recycling cart for recycling. Cards with foil or metallic features can’t be recycled in curbside.
Cardboard  - Reuse cardboard as often as possible before placing in your curbside recycling cart. If you have a quantity too large for the cart it can be taken to the Drop-Off Station or Jackson Rd.
Christmas Lights - Try to fix them first! If not, the Drop-Off Station and Jackson Rd accept these.
Christmas Trees - Christmas trees can be taken to the Drop-Off Station side lot for composting. This service operates from Dec. 15 to Jan. 31.
Electronics - Many replaced, working electronics can be donated to the ReUse Center. Items that can not be reused can be taken to the Drop-Off or Jackson Rd.
Food Waste - Unopened non-perishable items can be donated to Food Gatherers. Compost items at home- see the City of Ann Arbor’s Home Composting Guide.
Paper Gift Bags - Keep for reuse. If they’re not suitable for reuse they can be placed in the curbside recycling cart.

Plastic Bags - Reuse for as long as possible. Larger quantities can be taken to the Drop- Off Station and area grocery stores such as Kroger and Meijer.
Replaced Items including Sporting Goods, Books, and Electronics -  Donate any usable items to the ReUse Center. Items that can’t be reused can be taken to the Drop-Off Station or Jackson Rd.
Styrofoam Packaging - Can be taken to the Drop-Off Station.
Textiles - Reusable, good textiles can go to one of Ann Arbor’s many thrift stores. Torn or stained textiles can be taken to the Drop-Off Station.
Wrapping Paper - Save quality paper for reuse. Torn, crumbled wrapping paper can be placed in the curbside recycling cart for recycling. Foil or metallic paper can not be recycled and should be reused.
For an A-Z Recycling Guide visit: > Resources > A-Z Guide

Nearly three-quarters of David Fair’s 20+ years in radio has been at WEMU. Since 1994, he has been on the air at 5am each weekday on 89.1 FM as the local host of NPR’s Morning Edition. Over the years, Fair has had the opportunity to interview nationally and internationally known politicians, activists and celebrities. But he feels the most important features and interviews have been with those who live and work here at home. He believes his professional passions and desires fit perfectly into WEMU’s commitment to serving a local audience.