November’s Ghoulish Garbage: A Curbside Guide
As we know, there can be some scary finds in the Salt Lake City curbside recycling bins! There are also many tricks! (Both of these links are to recent Instagram stories done by our Recycling Education team. Pretty interesting, right?)
So now that Halloween is over, don’t give our waste management teams a fright! Here’s a quick guide to where your Halloween waste should go.
Compost: Your Jack-O’-Lantern’s Final Resting Place
If you’re an extra resourceful pumpkin carver, you may have decided to roast up your pumpkin seeds for a delicious Halloween snack! In fact, there are many fun ways to put your pumpkin’s guts to use.
But once you’ve used up your pumpkin and the jack-o’-lantern’s smile is fading, you have an important choice to make: where does the pumpkin go?
The combination of yard waste like leaves and sticks and kitchen scraps including eggshells and coffee grounds makes nutrient-rich dirt that promotes plant and soil health. Indeed, about 30% of what’s thrown away as garbage in the United States — including your perfect pumpkin — could be composted.
So instead of letting the great pumpkin take up space in the landfill (where it releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas), put your pumpkin into the compost bin!
(Remember to only put pumpkins without paint, wax, glitter or other non-organic decorations in the brown bin).
Garbage vs. Recycling?
Unless a helpful witch or wizard was able to transform all those candy wrappers into clean cardboard or aluminum, or if you send materials to a recycling program like TerraCycle, candy wrappers should always be put into the garbage can.
But candy is only part of the fun of Halloween. Another great part of Halloween is the costumes! As of 2015, the average American generates 75 pounds of textile waste each year – most of which ends up in the landfill. Although it is important to avoid contaminating your recycling bin with non-recyclable fabrics, if your costume is in good condition, consider donating it or saving it for future costume parties.
If you made your own costume and it contains clean aluminum cans, cardboard, or clean recyclable plastic containers, then you’ve already accomplished one of the 3 Rs: reuse. If that’s the last life you can get out of those materials, then you have another R to try: recycle! Check out the full list of materials that can go into Salt Lake City’s curbside recycling! Don’t forget that glass is also recyclable but bottles and jars go in the grey bins or can be taken to a drop off location.
Leaves, Leaves Everywhere!
Remember that autumn leaves should go in your curbside compost containers where they will soon be turned into nutrient-rich compost– the most local form of recycling!
Just be sure to keep any plastic bags or non-green waste out of the brown cans— plastic is particularly harmful to our operation.
Bulky Waste – Who You Gonna Call?
Now some people may do pumpkin carving or small decorations. But others go all out! If you’re the kind of person who makes huge Halloween displays that put haunted houses to shame, you may need extra help with your waste removal come November 1!
If you have large bulky items that don’t fit or belong in your weekly curbside containers, the Salt Lake City Call 2 Haul program will pick up old furniture, mattresses, appliances, tires, and electronic waste. Salt Lake City residents can schedule their pickup online or by calling (801) 535-6999. In the last year, Call 2 Haul has collected 5,662 tons of materials, (diverting 102 tons of mattresses, electronics, tires, metals, and appliances to proper recycling!)
Don’t let your curbside bins scare you!
Even if you didn’t celebrate Halloween, proper waste management is important for everyone and should be practiced all year long. If you ever get confused about what materials go in which bin, up-to-date information is available here.