Trashy holidays: Post-gifting cleanup begins (with video)

  • Cheri Cross of Northampton carries boxes to be recycled after the holidays Dec. 28, 2016, at the transfer station on Locust Street in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Alex Jarrett of the Pedal People unloads trash and recycling from his bicycle-powered trailer Dec. 28, 2016, at the transfer station on Locust Street in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • John Wilda of Leeds carries boxes to be recycled after the holidays Dec. 28, 2016, at the transfer station on Locust Street in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Holiday wrappings are compacted Dec. 28, 2016, at the transfer station on Locust Street in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Walt Flynn of Northampton carries boxes to be recycled after the holidays Dec. 28, 2016, at the transfer station on Locust Street in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Clarissa Lyons of the Pedal People hauls trash and recycling on a bicycle-powered trailer, Wednesday, on South Street in Northampton. Below left, Cheri Cross of Northampton carries boxes to be recycled at the transfer station on Locust Street in Northampton. Below right, Alex Jarrett of the Pedal People unloads trash and recycling from his bicycle-powered trailer at the Northampton transfer station. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY PHOTOS

  • Alex Jarrett of the Pedal People carries boxes to be recycled after the holidays Dec. 28, 2016, at the transfer station on Locust Street in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

@ecutts_HG
Published: 12/28/2016 3:44:46 PM

After the holiday festivities finish and the guests go home, cleanup begins — which makes for busy days at area transfer stations.

In South Hadley, Wednesday at the transfer station was “crazy,” according to Véronique Blanchard, the town’s solid waste coordinator.

“Everybody is getting rid of boxes and Styrofoam from Christmas,” Blanchard said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans throw away about 25 percent more trash than normal between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.

South Hadley operates on an every-other-week trash pickup schedule, so many residents use the transfer station during the off week, according to Blanchard.

Four times the normal amount of cardboard had already been collected by around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to Blanchard.

The transfer station’s large dumpster for cardboard, which can hold more than a ton, had to be pulled and emptied. Before the driver was able to return with it, residents had already filled a dump truck and a tire truck with cardboard, Blanchard said.

South Hadley resident Bob Cloughley had a trunk full of boxes and paper to recycle as well as plastic from presents.

The reason for the large load? Cloughley said he has “three little girls who get an awful lot of gifts and presents.”

Cloughley said he brings it to the transfer station because he doesn’t like to put it out for pickup and risk the wind picking some of it up.

The bins at Susan King’s South Hadley home were full, so she had to make a trip to the transfer station. She said she had cardboard and plastic to recycle from both gifts and meals.

For those using the transfer station, Blanchard had a recycling tip for the holidays and beyond: Die-cut plastic bags cannot be recycled, so those bringing in cans and jars should empty the contents of the bag into the proper receptacle.

In Northampton, Florence resident Tony Giardina came to drop off bags of trash accumulated over the holidays before driving his granddaughter back to Brooklyn.

“We have lobster tails in the garbage,” he said. “It’s time to get rid of it.”

Giardina also brought some items to recycle, but said it wasn’t all the boxes.

For Kirsti Wiemokly, it was just a regular day of dropping off trash and recycling. She said she spent the holidays at her mother’s house so all the extra recycling was there.

“We reuse a lot of the same boxes over and over, and bags,” she said.

Disposing of trash, recyclables and compost, Alex Jarrett has hands-on experience with the increase in holiday trash. Jarrett is a worker and owner of Pedal People, a human-powered delivery and hauling service for the Northampton area.

“It can be a difficult time of year, because there is both the snow and the cold but also the additional amounts people make,” Jarrett said. “It can be hard to see the consumerism expressed through that.

“It’s a challenge to see how much gets thrown away in our society and be on the front lines of that,” he said.

Emily Cutts can be reached at ecutts@gazettenet.com.




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