Hilltown Voices: Make the holidays happy for all by recycling

  • Garbage pile in trash dump or landfill. Pollution concept. vchal

For the Gazette
Published: 11/25/2018 11:23:48 PM

The holidays are upon us and happy gatherings, on-line shopping and gift-giving are in full swing. While the celebrations and festivities bring meaning and joy to many, they also come with a collective side-effect that can be easily mitigated with a little attention to proper recycling. 

According to Kathleen Casey of the Hilltown Resource Management Cooperative, during the holiday season, the average American family throws away up to 10 additional bags of trash, much of which is composed of packaging, wrapping paper and packing materials.

Gift wrapping

Gift givers can reduce waste by wrapping in reusable decorative tins, cloth, wooden boxes, or paper gift bags. Before purchasing gift wrap, HRMC suggests using calendar pages, maps, sheet music, old posters, fabric or scarves.  

Casey says that recycling and alternative options for gift-wrapping can produce a significant reduction in waste and what unnecessarily goes into our landfills.


It can sometimes be confusing to figure out what items are appropriate to recycle.

HRMC says that recyclable materials include: non-metallic gift wrap and gift bags; gift tissue paper; paperboard gift boxes; greeting cards; catalogs and calendars.

Cards with foil, metallic inks and or glitter cannot be recycled and musical greeting cards should have the button batteries removed and properly recycled.

HRMC implores people not to bag their recyclables in plastic bags or to place plastic bags into the recycling. These bags are a major safety hazard at the recycling facility, where they become tangled in conveyor belts and sorting equipment.  This contamination also has a crippling effect on the economics of recycling.

You can recycle plastic bags at special collection centers located at grocery stores.


Non-recyclable items include: holiday lights; Styrofoam peanuts; tinsel; ribbons; Mylar wrapping paper; photographs; blister packaging and plastic bags.

But don’t toss the packing materials yet, Casey says that clean, dry packing peanuts and bubble wrap are accepted free for reuse at the UPS Store, at 351 Pleasant Street, Northampton.

For more information on HRMC visit: hrmc@hrmc-ma.org

Meekins celebrates ‘four star’ honor

WILLIAMSBURG — The Library Journal has ranked Meekins Library as one of the country’s handful of “Star” libraries.

“We just got notified last week that we are one of the Library Journal’s star libraries,” Library Director Katie Krol said. “It’s such a rare honor, and it is a big deal for a town of 2000.”

Meekins received the four star ranking in 2016 as well.

The Library Journal’s Star Library Ratings “spotlight the best of the best across America.” In the 2018 edition, there are 257 Star Libraries.

Located in 42 states, the five states with the most Star Libraries are New York (31), Ohio (23), Illinois (21), Massachusetts (13) and Kansas (12).

Star ratings go from one to five and are based on: overall circulation, circulation of electronic materials, library visits, program attendance and public internet computer use. Each library is compared to its peers that have about the same amount of funding to spend.

As a result, getting a star rating not only means that the library delivers a strong return on investment, but that when graded on a curve, it is one of the strongest performers.

To celebrate the award, food and snacks will be available on Saturday, Dec. 8th. Saturday library hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

From 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., there will also be a STEAMCraft event in which participants of all ages will learn the geometry of folding to create beautiful four-, five- and six-pointed origami star ornaments.

Wreaths wine and history

CUMMINGTON — What could be more apropos this holiday season, than a glass of wine, some mid-century inspired treats, and a little history of how New Englanders of this time used to decorate for Christmas, all while you put together your own wreath?

On Saturday, Dec. 1, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., the William Cullen Bryant Homestead will hold a workshop on making your own wreath or mistletoe, complete with wine and traditional treats.

Advanced registration is required 1 week before the workshop. This workshop is for adults and is $24 for members: $30 for non-members.

Register online or email acaluori@thetrustees.org

Ideas for this column on life in the hilltowns can be sent to Fran Ryan at Fryan.gazette@gmail.com

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Northampton, MA 01061


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