Orange County Solid Waste Management will have the following schedule over the Christmas Holiday and New Years’ Day. 

Monday Dec. 24: Administrative Offices Closed, Landfill Closed, Eubanks and Walnut Grove Church Road Waste and Recycling Centers close at noon (other centers closed Monday as usual), Curbside recycling as usual- carts out by 7 a.m. 

Tuesday Christmas Day: All County facilities closed. Tuesday’s curbside recycling shifts to Saturday Dec. 28.

Wednesday Dec. 26: Administrative Offices Closed. Landfill Open, All Waste and Recycling Centers closed as usual on Wednesday, Curbside recycling on regular schedule.

Tuesday New Year’s Day Jan. 1: All County facilities closed. Curbside recycling shifts to Saturday Jan. 5. 

Recap of snowstorm schedules: Our staff worked through the curbside recycling schedule last week and all carts should have been collected by Saturday, Dec. 15. We appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation during the winter weather. If you find that your curbside recycling cart is overflowing, use one of the four 24-hour drop off sites and five staffed waste and recycling centers. Check the County web page for locations and for operating hours of the staffed sites. Cardboard will have to be separated out.

Managing Holiday Packing Materials and Reducing Holiday Waste

Many homes are bombarded with gifts under the tree, around the table and in the mail during this season and then we must deal with the packaging waste. Take heart, much of that packaging can be reused or recycled. Not all of it though, so be discriminating: all cardboard boxes should be empty and flattened for recycling. Tape or staples are OK. Management for interior packaging materials varies. Most mailing stores like UPS report they still want bubble wrap, air pillows and brown paper. But do call the store you intend to bring materials to before going to ensure they are not suffering a glut of materials. Most, but not all, also report they no longer want Styrofoam peanuts. If they report they have all they need, then try to hold it until early next year when the packaging onslaught slows down. 

If there is some paper packaging attached to plastic blister pack, try to safely remove it and recycle only the paper; the blister packs are not recyclable for the most part. Personal experience shows how hard (and even dangerous) it can be to separate the paper, so do it carefully, if at all. Do not recycle tissue paper, metallic wrapping paper, mylar or similar coated, laminated type paper and plastic wrapping; creatively reuse them or throw them out. Reuse those ribbons and bows.

This time of year there’s great temptation to give material gifts; the desire to show our love and affection this way persists even when our loved ones’ may already have all they need. Is there a non-material gift that would satisfy the need to gift? Is there a donation to a favorite charity that would mean much to the recipient?

Town of Hillsborough Waste Survey highlights Reuse and buying recycled 

A recent waste audit follow up with the several Hillsborough Town government buildings revealed that the Town staff are taking their other R’s seriously too. Not just ‘R’ for Recycle but for Reduce and Reuse and even buy Recycled. Hats off to the Police Department for replacing their old drinking fountain with one that has a bottle filling station with a counter showing how many bottles were avoided. Once Administrator Danielle King realized how much bottled water the force went through during their 24/7/365 operations she prevailed on Chief Hampton to spend the extra money for a water fountain with this feature and encouraged use of canteen type containers by the force. Results are good so far.

The new Hillsborough Town Annex on Corbin Street which houses the Water and Sewer Utility is also equipped with a water fountain using a bottle filling attachment with counter. Julie Laws the Administrator said, “As the provider of drinking water to the Town, what kind of impression do we make buying bottled water? That our own isn’t good enough to drink’?” Stephanie Trueblood, Public Space Manager was involved with specifying fixtures for the conversion of the building from a doctor’s office to a modern Town office and meeting spaces. She told me that she’d simply opted for this bottle filling fixture as a routine part of the building’s upfit. 

A scientific analysis by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality showed that even when the plastic water bottles are recycled, using bottled water consumes 47 times as much energy as getting the same amount from the tap. Not to mention the expense. At even 50 cents per single use bottle in bulk, that’s still $4 per gallon and the very drinkable Town tap water is about 2 cents a gallon ( including the built-in sewer charge). 

Pam Gainey of the Town Manager’s office added her part to the environmental sustainability conversation noting that she purchases items with recycled content whenever she can. She has found a Raleigh-based office supply vendor who provides high-quality, cost-competitive paper and other office supply items that have recycled-content paper as well as plastics. With recycling markets remaining soft, this ‘closing of the recycling loop’ is as important as putting only the right materials in your blue cart. Thank you Hillsborough. 

Blair L. Pollock is the Solid Waste Planner at the Orange County Solid Waste Management Department and can be contacted at bpollock@orangecountync.gov.