How to Dispose of Amazon Packaging

amazon packaging

With the holidays around the corner, package deliveries are ramping up around the country. According to one set of numbers, during last year’s holiday rush, deliveries in the U.S. nearly doubled from an average of 45 million to 95 million packages per day.

Even without the holiday surge, online shopping generates massive amounts of packaging waste. It isn’t just cardboard anymore — over the past couple of years, Amazon has increased its reliance on lightweight plastic mailers. About half of all e-commerce transactions take place through Amazon, so how Amazon chooses to ship its products has a big impact on what ends up in our landfills.

The new plastic mailers take up less space than bulky boxes, which allows Amazon to pack more of them into delivery trucks and planes. However, plastic mailers can’t be recycled as easily as cardboard. Like plastic bags, the plastic mailers tangle up sorting machinery at recycling facilities, causing expensive delays, so they can’t be sorted out through our One Big Bin program like other recyclable materials.

How can you recycle Amazon mailers?

If the mailer is plastic on the outside with a layer bubble wrap on the inside, or if it is flexible plastic (like a plastic bag) with no layer of bubble wrap: Bring it to a plastic bag drop-off. Just remove the paper label first, since the paper and adhesive can contaminate the plastic film recycling. If you aren’t going to take it to a drop-off, toss it in the garbage.

How does plastic bag recycling drop-off work?

Certain big box stores and supermarkets put out bins for plastic bag collection near the front of their stores. Once collected, all of the plastic film is melted down and turned into materials such as composite lumber, which is used to make decks, playgrounds and park benches.

Ready to recycle those plastic mailers? Find your closest drop-off location.

Where can I recycle cardboard boxes?

Twelve Bridges Library
485 Twelve Bridges Drive
Drop Off Area: Back Parking Lot
Map & Directions
(916) 434-2410

Joiner Park
Map & Directions
Drop Off Area: Main Parking Lot

Remember to break down cardboard to reduce wasted space in the recycling containers. If the container is full, please do not leave cardboard on the ground. If cardboard containers are full, you can bring your cardboard to the Western Placer Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) to recycle it at no cost.

How to Fix Christmas Lights

christmas lights

It’s the moment of truth every Christmas tree decorator has to face each year: When you unpack your Christmas lights, will they turn on?

If half your string of Christmas lights won’t light up, or worse yet — the entire string — don’t worry. Repairing Christmas lights is actually super easy! Watch these videos to find out how, no matter what type of lights you’re working with.

Remember: Always unplug your string lights before you start working on them! And if your string lights aren’t salvageable, here’s how to get rid of them.

How to Replace a Fuse on Any String Light (And Avoid Blowing More Fuses)

If your entire set of lights won’t turn on, or the string turns on briefly before going out, it’s likely you’ve blown a fuse. This is a super easy fix!

How to Repair Incandescent String Lights

A simple non-contact voltage tester will help you quickly find a bad bulb.

How to Repair LED String Lights With Removable Bulbs (No Fancy Tools Required)

If individual bulbs on your LED string are removable, you can use a pair of pliers to check the bulbs by hand. Because LED string lights have a different type of wiring, a regular voltage tester won’t work on them, but it doesn’t matter — broken bulbs are easy to identify when once you’ve pulled them out.

How to Repair LED String Lights With Permanent Bulbs (And a Faster Method for LED Strings With Removable Bulbs)

If you want a tool to quickly find where the current is failing, the only option currently on the market is a tool called the LED Keeper. The LED Keeper is a good tool for you if:

  • You have a lot of LED string lights to repair;
  • Your LED string lights have 100+ lights in them; or
  • The bulbs in your LED string lights are not removable.

The LED Keeper gives you a way to find and bypass any broken bulbs in your LED string.

Bagged Leaf Program

leaves

Got extra leaves?

For the month of December, the City is offering leaf pickup to those residents who have too many leaves to fit into their green waste can and who don’t live in the downtown area that currently receives service from the leaf truck.

There is no charge for this pickup nor limit to how many bags will be collected, and it is available to all City residents. This service will be provided on Thursdays throughout the month of December.

If you would like to schedule a pickup for your bagged leaves, please see the below instructions:

  • Call the Public Services Line at (916) 434-2450 to schedule a pickup. These pickups are not automatic and therefore need to be scheduled. Thursdays have been designated as the “leaf pickup day” for this program.
  • Place your extra green waste (leaves only) into a garbage bag.
  • No open or overflowing bags of leaves will be accepted, so please make sure the bags are tied.
  • Please place the filled bag(s) at the curb by 6 AM on your scheduled Thursday.
  • Bags containing other related plant material, garbage, or other waste will not be picked up.

This service will be provided during the month of December. To schedule this service, please call Public Works at (916) 434-2450.

How to Fix a Hole in a Sweater (Video)

Winter is well on its way, but what if your sweaters aren’t ready for sweater weather?

There’s no need to toss a sweater over small holes. Check out this DIY tutorial to see how you can fix them, and by the time you’re done your sweater will be almost as good as new!

10 Ways to Cut Pounds — of Waste! — This Thanksgiving

thanksgiving pie

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and we all know how labor-intensive preparing the big meal can be. But we’re not always aware of how much extra waste we create!

On average, household waste increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to the EPA. We become so busy during the holidays, it can easily become a time to think less and waste more.

This Thanksgiving, try out these tips to keep some of those extra pounds of waste out of the landfill.

1. Remember to bring your reusable bags when grocery shopping, including reusable produce bags.

2. Choose products that have minimal packaging, or packaging that can be recycled. It’s easier to avoid waste by shopping from fresh produce sections, bulk bins and farmer’s markets. Also, food cans are more eco-friendly than plastic packaging, but they aren’t as green as fresh produce brought home in a reusable produce bag.

3. At home, skip the aluminum pan and use a roasting pan instead. Even though aluminum trays are recyclable, recycling requires a lot of resources, so a reusable pan is a greener choice.

4. Break out your reusable dishes and silverware for the holiday instead of using disposable plates.

5. Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins — you’ll add elegance and reduce waste at the same time.

6. When serving beverages, opt for tap water over bottled water — you can add some lemon or cucumber slices to jazz it up. You can also make holiday beverages like apple cider, spiced wine or sangria in bulk, instead of serving individual beverage containers.

7. Avoid plastic wrap when storing leftovers by using food storage containers instead.

8. Use natural objects such as gourds, cinnamon sticks, acorns and pinecones to brighten your space instead of shopping for store-bought decor. If you’re feeling crafty, here are some additional ideas from Pinterest:

9. If you’re planning some crafts for the kiddos in your family, recruit them to help make upcycled holiday decor by cutting shapes out of old newspaper, wrapping paper or construction paper.

10. Remember to use our Recycling Guide! Even though it’s easy to remember what goes in our One Big Bin, you can find tips for reducing and reusing all kinds of items in our Recycling Guide.

As important as it is to reduce waste and recycle, no matter how you choose to celebrate, remember to be thankful for who you’re with and all that you have.

Happy Thanksgiving!

5 Reasons Why Recycling Is Awesome for America Recycles Day

recycling

What if you knew there was something easy you could do every day that creates jobs while saving money, energy and water? Actually, there is: Recycling!

To celebrate America Recycles Day, check out these 5 reasons why recycling is awesome.

1. Recycling keeps trash out of the landfill.

According to the EPA, in the U.S. we are currently able to keep 35 percent of our trash out of landfills and incinerators through recycling and composting. In California, we manage to keep 44 percent of our trash out of the landfill. That’s a good start, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. It’s important to keep as much material out of the landfill as possible because all items that we produce are made from valuable and limited resources. We want to hang onto as much of it as we can for future use.

2. Recycling reduces our need for new raw materials.

Extracting raw materials from the environment is expensive. It also uses up a lot of water and energy. When we recycle, we extract less, which conserves many of our precious (and finite!) natural resources, including trees, water, oil and metals. The more we recycle, the more we protect our resources!

3. Recycling conserves energy.

Recycling saves a lot of energy. Every year, recyclers across the country save the same amount of energy it would take to power 14 million homes for a full year. That’s the equivalent of turning off the power for one out of every 10 homes for an entire year.

4. Recycling creates jobs.

In the U.S., recycling and reuse activities provide 757,000 jobs and produce $36 billion in wages each year. Choosing to recycle isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for the economy too.

5. Recycling reduces pollution.

The process of extracting raw materials can produce a lot of pollution. Because more recycling means less extraction, it also means less pollution. Even better, when we recycle more, we send less material to landfills. Material decaying in landfills often emits methane, a greenhouse gas 30 times as potent as carbon dioxide, so the less of that, the better!

Happy recycling!

The Extraordinary Life of One Piece of Fruit

As we get closer to Thanksgiving and remember to be thankful for our bounties of food, it’s good to remember all the resources that go into producing it. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes effort that contributes to full shelves at the grocery store and a full fridge or pantry at home. So even when one piece of fruit is left to mold and gets thrown away, it’s not just one piece of fruit that we’re wasting — it’s freshwater, soil nutrients, gasoline, manual labor — the list goes on.

This video from the AdCouncil and NRDC shows the entire life of a little strawberry in a lapse of two minutes, from when it’s growing, to when it’s picked on a farm, to when it goes to the store, and finally, when it’s picked to go home with a family. It will make you see food waste from a whole new perspective.

To learn more about what you can do to prevent food waste, visit our food waste page or www.savethefood.com.

Daylight Saving Time: When You Change Your Clocks, Change the Batteries in Your Smoke Detector

smoke detector

Nov 3 is the end of Daylight Saving Time, which means we have to move the clocks back an hour. But Daylight Saving Time is also the perfect time to check your smoke detectors and change the batteries! When it comes to fire safety, it’s always better safe than sorry.

When you change your batteries, remember to recycle your old ones. Never throw batteries in the trash — they contain dangerous metals and corrosive chemicals that can leach into the environment. In Lincoln, we have two programs for battery recycling. The Battery Recycling Program is a drop-off program, and the Free Universal Waste Collection Program is a pick-up program. Find out more about how to recycle batteries.

It’s Time to Upgrade Your Tailgating Cup

solo cups

No one can deny that the red Solo cup is a cultural icon: it makes us think of tailgating, BBQs, college parties and more recently, Toby Keith’s hugely popular song.

However, before you fill one up this season, consider switching to a reusable option. According to EarthDay.org, 500 billion disposable cups are consumed every year. They’re one of the contributors to the 8 million metric tons of plastic that pours into our oceans every year. Only a small amount of plastic is recycled successfully.

That’s why switching to reusable is always the best choice. If you’re not in charge of party planning, just BYO reusable cup! Reusable plastic or aluminum work well — you can use a spare thermos, water bottle or even a glass mason jar.

If you’re party planning and want traditional red cups, check out these reusable ones from Red Cup Living. Another option: the University of Colorado Boulder just released reusable aluminum cups for their new football season. The aluminum cups are difficult to break, keep your drink cold longer, and are dishwasher-friendly.

If you’re stuck on single-use cups, stick to plastics that are recyclable. Avoid plastic cups labeled “compostable” or “biodegradable” — these plastics are not recyclable, and recyclable plastic is better for the environment.

That said, if your tailgating party just won’t be the same without the classic Solo cups, reuse them as much as you can before tossing them in our One Big Bin.

How to Fix a Zipper (Video)

From stuck zippers to zippers that just won’t stay zipped, we’ve all had our share of zipper troubles. Thankfully, most zipper problems are a quick fix! Avoid replacing a faulty zipper using these easy zipper hacks.