After a holiday blitz of tearing into packages, decking the halls with boughs of evergreens, and eating way too much, some Carson City-area residents are starting the new year with a huge pile of wrapping paper and a dry Christmas tree to get rid of.
It's tempting to just burn it all, but that can be dangerous -- and it's bad for air quality.
"When you burn paper that has been treated with special inks, you may be releasing toxins into the air we all breathe," said Andrew Goodrich, director of air quality at the Washoe Health Department in Reno.
Rather than soiling the air with smoke from colored wrapping paper and green, sappy trees, consider recycling. It's very easy, Goodrich said.
Capital Sanitation in Carson City will pick up Christmas trees with regular trash pickup through Jan. 6. Residents should make sure the tree is free of decorations and nails and disconnected from any stand. Two trucks will make the rounds all week: one for trash and one for trees.
"We call it the Christmas tree patrol," said Henry Gastelum, a Capital Sanitation supervisor.
An option for tree recyclers who are not Capital Sanitation customers is to drop them off at one of three sites: Kmart and the old Wal-Mart, where Dumpsters are placed for trees to be put in; and the city yard on Butti Way near the wastewater treatment plant.
Whereas curbside tree retrieval will end on Jan. 6, the drop sites will be in operation until Jan. 11.
The trees are transported to the landfill to be run through chipper-shredders. Capital Sanitation cannot accept trees with the white, snow-like "flocking" because it jams the chippers and is not biodegradable.
"The chips are there for the people of Carson City to use if they want them," said Bill Field, Capital Sanitation manager.
The chips are offered free.
As for all that gift wrapping paper, most of it has to be thrown away.
"We don't have a way of getting rid of it," said Field. "And we don't have a way of sorting it out. For me, I wouldn't tell them to do anything other than throw it away."
An online description of Carson City recycling procedures -- www.carson-city.nv.us/health/recycling/recycling.htm -- says wrapping paper and cardboard can be placed in the yellow bins for recycling. But Boothe said the Web site needs to be updated.
The yellow plastic baskets distributed by Capital Sanitation can be used for newspapers, phone books, plain paper and magazines, but not cardboard or wrapping paper. It can also be used for aluminum, tin and plastic recyclable items. The white basket container is for glass recyclable items.
Clean, flattened cardboard can be dropped off at the landfill or at the Capital Sanitation building, 4847 E. Nye Lane.
Christmas trees can be put out for collection in Douglas County on regular pickup days from Jan. 6-10. In Douglas County, residents who do not have trash pickup can place their trees with cans of their neighbors who do.
No liquid household hazardous waste can dumped at landfills. Old paint, pesticides, used motor oil and household chemicals can be recycled at the Carson City Environmental Health Department at 3505 Butti Way, but an appointment must be made. For further information, call 887-2190.
Capital Sanitation: 882-3380
Customer Service hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays,
8 a.m. to noon Saturday
Carson's recycling plan online: www.carson-city.nv.us/health/recycling/recycling.htm. Note: wrapping paper and cardboard cannot be put in the yellow box for recycling as the site says.
Carson City Environmental Health Department, for hazardous waste: 887-2190
Recycling in Douglas County: 782-9835