Holiday tips for our planet
This blog entry is not particularly scholarly nor legal in nature. However, it is the “time of the season,” and in researching the City of Seattle’s recent ban on plastic carry-out bags, I came across some valuable information which I hope you will be mindful of this time of the year.
During normal times, Seattleites alone use about 292 million plastic bags per year, only 13% of which are recycled. It is commonly said that from Thanksgiving to New Years Day, household waste increases by more than 25%. If you are curious how much waste you generate and how much is generated State wide, the King County website has a calculator which is kind of nifty.
According to Seattle Public Utilities, you can recycle these types of holiday refuse:
Clean pie tins, plastic deli/veggie trays and lids (wider than 3 inches), empty eggnog cartons, paper, plastic and metal cups, bottles, cans, jars, and tubs; catalogs, greeting cards, envelopes, cardboard, clean aluminum foil, gift wrap, plastic grocery bags (bundle and tie together) and glossy/shiny shopping bags (reduce waste and bring your own reusable shopping bag instead).It may be silly to try to “save the planet” one person at a time, especially in the shadow of massive ecologic disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon pumped out 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico last year. But this is a fight worth engaging in, it makes one feel better and is the right thing to do. So do your children and grandchildren a favor, and think about reducing the amount of wrapping and other products that will need to be recycled or thrown in the garbage can. Recycle all of the holiday refuse you can. And as a present to yourself, buy some reusable grocery bags and use them all year long. That would be a nice gift to the planet.