Americans throw out 25% more trash from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day than at any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage. Remember: When you “throw away” those holiday gift ribbons, wrappings and packaging, it all ends up somewhere else.  

Here are some holiday tips to help reduce the amount of materials going into Kodiak’s landfill:

• Over the holidays enough wrapping paper is used to reach the moon! Wrapping paper is recyclable as long as it is not metallic and doesn’t have glitter on it. Purchase wrapping paper made with recycled materials, or instead, use magazine or newspaper pages, old nautical charts, paper shopping bags or fabric scraps. 

• More brands than ever before are using recycled materials in their products. When shopping for your holiday gifts, consider choosing brands that are made with ocean plastic, reused fibers, or recycled paper.

• Old Christmas lights can be recycled at Threshold Recycling Center. The lights contain valuable copper that can be removed and the wiring and plastic casing can be made into new products.

• Holiday cards made of paper or cardstock can be recycled, including shiny paper and photo cards. Remove any items attached to the cards and recycle the envelopes too! Cards covered with glitter or foil can’t be recycled.

• Recycle your old electronic gadgets, phones or computers at Threshold, or drop them off at a local organization or charity for people who are less fortunate. 

• Instead of overdoing it with shopping, give the gift of an experience or your time over material things. Ideas include tickets to special events, a weekend out of town, a donation to a favorite charity, babysitting, gift certificates, subscriptions, memberships, or family videos. 

• Make it easy for guests to recycle by putting a bin for aluminum cans and plastic bottles next to the trash can at holiday parties. 



Give your garbage another life! Threshold Recycling Services is on Von Scheele Way, up the road from Safeway. You can drop off your aluminum cans, batteries, tin cans (rinse, please!), electronics, wiring, magazines, catalogs, junk mail, office paper, fluorescent bulbs and much more. Plastics with a neck, such as milk and juice jugs, laundry bottles, syrup bottles, etc. also are accepted. 



Just ONE aluminum can equals enough energy to power a laptop computer for five hours! White paper and cardboard (including cereal and cracker boxes) also give some of the biggest returns in recycling markets. Locally, the money helps keep Threshold operating and pay its workers.  



Nearly every item flown or shipped to Kodiak comes in cardboard packages, and thousands more arrive daily during the holidays. Most of it ends up in the landfill. There are many cardboard drop off stations in residential areas around Kodiak — at Safeway, Parkside, Sheratin, the helo pad on Mission, in back of the hospital, downtown on the Spit, at the former Bells Flats store and Pasagshak. Many are located right next to the trash dumpsters. Find a map of all drop off stations at the KIB website under Solid Waste Management/Quick Links.    



Got thoughts or ideas about reducing waste on Kodiak? Let us know at at the Questions/Comments section or on Facebook @KodiakIslandBorough.


This monthly column by the Kodiak Island Borough Solid Waste Advisory Board (SWAB) aims to make all citizens aware of how Kodiak handles the many items we throw “away” at our homes and businesses.  The KIB encourages everyone to help reduce the amount of materials going into our landfill.





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