Make a resolution to recycle right in the new year. (Waste Management)

Make a resolution to recycle right in the new year. (Waste Management)

Take your pick from 20 recycling resolutions for a greener 2020

How’s this one? When you go out, bring your reusable shopping bag, water bottle, coffee cup and straw.

It’s a new year — the perfect time to reflect on our sustainability goals and refresh our recycling habits.

This year, especially for Snohomish County residents, the recycling experts at Waste Management are offering 20 recycling resolutions to help reduce waste and clean up recycling. Are you ready to commit to better recycling habits in 2020? Here’s how you can do it:

Compost your Christmas tree. After your tree has fulfilled its holiday duty inside your home, Waste Management will help you compost it. Through Jan. 17, you can leave your whole (up to 6 feet tall), unflocked, undecorated Christmas tree next to your curbside cart for pick up as part of your regular curbside service. If you miss the special collection dates, you may chop your Christmas tree into 3-foot sections and place inside your yard waste bin. Just remember, all tinsel must be removed first.

Go bagless. Plastic bags damage equipment and cause safety hazards at recycling facilities. If you collect your recyclables in a bag, empty them directly into your cart and reuse the bag. Find a drop off location to recycle plastic film at www.plasticfilmrecycling.org.

Keep tanglers out of the recycling. Christmas lights, garland, ribbons and clothing can easily get tangled around sorting equipment at recycling facilities, damaging it and posing safety hazards. Reduce, reuse and donate these items when possible. Don’t put them in your curbside recycling cart.

Keep recycling clean. Food and liquids damage recyclables and can contaminate an entire load, preventing it from being recycled. Empty all liquids and give your containers a quick rinse before tossing them in the recycling cart.

Keep curbside lids closed. When materials like paper and cardboard get wet, they break down and can’t be recycled. Closing the lid is an easy way to protect your recyclables from the elements.

Recycle plastics by shape. Focus on shapes when deciding which plastic items go in the recycling cart. Plastic bottles and jugs are acceptable in your cart and will be made into new products.

When in doubt, find out. When you aren’t sure if something is recyclable, don’t just toss it in the bin. Look it up online at www.wmnorthwest.com/snohomishcounty. If you still aren’t sure, it’s better to put it in the garbage to avoid contaminating other recyclables.

Spread the word. Post recycling guides at home near recycling bins to remind family and friends what goes where. Get printable guides and collection calendars at www.wmnorthwest.com/snohomishcounty.

Reduce food waste. Wasted food is one of the top contributors to greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Do the planet (and your wallet!) a favor. Buy carefully and use up everything you buy.

Give away what you can’t use. Thrift stores will accept and repurpose old shoes, furniture, dishes, linens and toys. You also can connect with your neighbors via online networks such as Craigslist, Next Door, OfferUp or Buy Nothing Facebook groups. These online communities are set up so you can give or sell belongings to neighbors. They are excellent waste-reduction tools and also an uplifting reminder of human generosity.

Go paperless. Reduce paper waste by selecting email statements from your bank, credit card and other accounts.

Compost your food scraps. Any food scraps that can’t be eaten should go in the food and yard waste cart or your compost pile. Composting food scraps allows them to cycle back to the Earth as nutrient-rich soil naturally and helps conserve natural resources.

Say no to single-use. When you go out, remember to bring your reusable shopping bag, water bottle, coffee cup and straw.

Get creative with waste reduction around the house. Try eliminating paper towels in favor of reusable rags and dish towels.

Drop off packing material at specialized recyclers. Materials such as Styrofoam and bubble wrap aren’t accepted in your curbside cart, but some organizations accept them for drop off. A quick online search will show locations near you.

Go green at work. Become a Green Business by reducing waste and increasing recycling. For resources on how to start a green team at your office, check out www.wmnorthwest.com/educational/greenbusinesses.htm.

Help your school go green. It’s crucial to develop sustainable habits at a young age. Is your child’s school a Green School? Find out how you can support the younger generation here at www.wagreenschools.org.

Learn more about what happens after the truck picks up your cart. You can start by taking a virtual tour of a recycling center here: www.wmnorthwest.com/guidelines/videos/crc2.htm

Attend a Fix it Fair or Repair Cafe event. Have a ripped piece of clothing or broken appliance? Rather than throwing it out, bring it to one of these events and have it repaired. More at www.extension.wsu.edu/snohomish/naturalresources/sustainable-community-stewards/repair-cafe.

Keep recycling. Because it matters.

Here’s to recycling right in 2020!

Hannah Scholes is Waste Management’s recycling education and outreach manager. To see what’s recyclable in Snohomish County, go to www.wmnorthwest.com/snohomishcounty.

Talk to us

More in Life

A course of traffic-cone slaloms is one way to help teens improve their driving skills. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Her teen is putting pedal to the metal for accident avoidance

She signed the new driver up for an advanced collision avoidance class taught by Defensive Driving School.

Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, now a symbol of peace and reunification. (Rick Steves’ Europe)
Rick Steves: Today’s Berlin is freedom’s victory dance

Checkpoint Charlie is now a capitalist sideshow. You’ll be sold fake bits of the wall, WWII gas masks and DDR medals.

Snohomish Historical Preservation Commission member Fred Cruger with his dog, Duffy, in Arlington along one of the history walk sections at Centennial Trail. The event will be up through September. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Discover local history as you walk the Centennial Trail

Take a smartphone quiz as you stroll the trail. If you answer every question correctly, you’ll win a prize.

We need to make suicide prevention a public health priority

The pandemic has impacted our mental well-being. Be on the lookout for suicidal behavior.

The Sauk River rushes by near a popular boat launch area close to White Chuck Mountain off the Mountain Loop Highway, just outside of Darrington. (Daniella Beccaria / Herald file)
Outdoors classes and activities around Snohomish County

The listings include Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest updates and REI Lynnwood workshops.

The “Fluffy” arborvitae has the ability to light up a Northwest landscape with its golden needles. (Proven Winners)
Gold tones of ‘Fluffy’ conifers make the landscape sparkle

It’s a new variety of Thuja plicata, native to the Pacific coast, known as western arborvitae.

Blue leadwort is a low-growing perennial that acts as a colorful groundcover for the garden. (Getty Images)
A few perennial gems to help brighten up the fall garden

He can’t help but find new treasures to plant each time he visits the nursery. Here are four he added recently.

The double-flowered autumn crocus has large lavender-pink blooms that resemble waterlilies. (Richie Steffen)
Great Plant Pick: Colchicum ‘Waterlily,’ double-flowered autumn crocus

This bulb features large double lavender-pink blooms that resemble waterlilies in the fall.

This French window bench was in style the last half of the 18th century. Although it was made to use by a window, it is popular with decorators today as a hall bench or a seat at the end of a bed. This bench sold for about $1,600 at an auction. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
French window bench in style the last half of the 18th century

This Provincial Louis XVI fruitwood window seat was sold at a New Orleans auction for $1,625.

Most Read