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Posted on Wed. Dec. 26, 2012 - 12:01 am EDT

Many happy (holiday tree) returns

Recycling effort includes gift boxes, wrapping paper

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Drop-off locations

Beginning today, the following locations will accept Christmas trees to be recycled. Trees will be accepted through Jan. 18.

Fort Wayne area

•National Serv-All compost site, 6231 MacBeth Road; drop-off hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to noon Saturday

•Allen County Highway Garage at 2234 Carroll Road

•Foster Park West in the soccer field parking lot on the west side

•Foellinger Theatre in the back parking lot near the southwest corner

•McMillen Park in the pool parking lot

Monroeville area

•Monroeville compost site at 200 Utility Drive

Leo-Cedarville area

•Across from Riverside Gardens Park

New Haven area

•Jury Park

•Meadowbrook School’s parking lot

•North side of City Hall at 815 Lincoln Highway E.

Woodburn area

•Front Street under the water tower

Gifts have been unwrapped and presents set aside, but now what to do with the piles of wrapping paper and gift boxes – and the giant pine taking up space in the living room?

As the gift-giving season draws to a close, the Allen County Solid Waste Management District reminds residents about the importance of creating a greener Christmas.

“The average American generates more than 4.5 pounds of trash a day,” community education coordinator Laura Rhoades said. “If you do the arithmetic on that, it’s astounding.

“Then add in the additional 25 percent we throw away around the holidays. There are just so many alternatives.”

For starters, Rhoades said, recycle things like greeting cards and envelopes, old calendars, wrapping paper that isn’t metallic and gift boxes or bags. When recycling gift bags, be sure to remove the handles first, she said. Cardboard boxes with clear plastic windows, such as those used commonly with Barbie dolls and other toys, can also be recycled, she said.

Items that cannot be recycled include bubble wrap, rigged plastic on toys and electronics, Styrofoam and shiny metallic wrapping paper.

“When I was growing up, I remember there being one pile that everything was thrown into,” Rhoades said. “But think how easy it is to make several piles – a recycle pile, a reuse pile and a waste pile.”

After Christmas gifts have been put away, the next step is taking down decorations – starting with the tree.

Allen County residents can opt to drop trees off at one of several sites that offer free recycling. Most drop-off locations accept trees during all hours, with the exception of the Serv-All compost site on MacBeth Road, Rhoades said.

The locations do not accept Christmas wreaths.

As residents think forward to the new year, it’s not a bad idea to start fresh with recycling, Rhoades said.

“If people gave some thought to what they’re throwing away, they’d find that lots of what is being thrown away has other uses. It’s just a matter of getting in the right mindset,” she said. “The start of a new year is all about making new goals. It’s not a bad time to kick start this one.”

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