What Happens When “Tanglers” Get in the Recycling (Video)

What happens when “tanglers” get into the recycling? They bring equipment at the recycling facility to a full stop.

“Tanglers” are long or stretchy items, including plastic bags, clothing & textiles, bedding, bungee cords, garden hoses, electrical cords & cables, and Christmas lights.

Watch this video to see what happens when everything gets “Tangled Up.”

Give Your Garbage Collector a Brake

garbage truck

In the U.S., we toss out more than 250 million tons of garbage every year. Unfortunately, once all that trash is tossed to the curb, it’s a dangerous job to pick it up.

Collecting garbage is one of the top five most dangerous jobs in America. The fatal injury rate is higher than it is for police officers, firefighters, construction workers and miners.

So what can we do to help keep our garbage collectors safe? Drive safely! Being struck by a motorist is a leading cause of death for garbage truck drivers. Luckily, with proper awareness, it’s completely preventable.

First, slow down when approaching collection trucks. Stop if necessary to allow them to do their job. Not only are garbage collectors trying to focus on doing their job, they are also dealing with limited visibility, loud noises, and — compared to the average vehicle — relatively complicated machinery.

Second, give trucks and workers plenty of space. If you pass a truck, check for workers on the ground first. Then check for traffic coming from the opposite direction. If it’s all clear, move over in the road to create a safe distance between you and the truck. Don’t try to pass a garbage truck if there isn’t room, if there is oncoming traffic, or if the visibility is poor.

Third, stay alert while passing a collection truck. Don’t accelerate while passing, and avoid distractions such as texting, using a GPS or radio until you have safely made it around the truck.

Follow these steps and you’ll make your neighborhood garbage collector’s job a whole lot safer.

How to Do Takeout the Eco-Friendly Way

takeout food in single-use container

Do you love going to restaurants but hate all the waste created by takeout meals? Make it your New Year’s resolution to try some new local dishes without filling up your garbage. Here’s how:

Bring Your Own Container (BYOC)

Headed to the restaurant down the street? Before you go, check your cabinet for a clean reusable container, preferably with a lid, to take with you. Getting a drink? Bring a thermos or bottle. Restaurants around the country are starting to encourage BYOC and California just signed into law a bill, AB 619, which makes it official: As of January 2020, restaurants are legally allowed to serve food and beverages in consumer-provided reusable containers. Keep an eye out for restaurants that start to offer a discount for bringing your own container.

Bring Your Own Utensils

Eating on the run? Skip the plastic or compostable utensils and bring your own instead. That fork or spoon that doesn’t quite match any of the others in your silverware set is the perfect candidate for your zero waste take-out kit. Keep forgetting your utensils at home? Consider keeping a set in your purse, backpack or car.

Just Say “No Thanks”

When you’re ordering takeout, think ahead about the items you need and don’t need. Ordering food to take home? Skip the utensils, napkins and condiments — you probably have them at home in your kitchen. Now that you’ve cut out all the stuff you don’t need, you might even be able to skip the plastic bag you previously needed to get it all home.

Dine in

Here’s an easy one. Try eating at the restaurant instead of getting your food to-go. In general, restaurants tend to use fewer single-use products for customers dining in. Look for restaurants using reusable plates, silverware and glasses instead of disposables. And don’t forget to bring your own to-go container for the leftovers.

When you do go get takeout food, no matter how much or little waste you prevent in the process, make sure you dispose of everything correctly by looking it up in our Recycling Guide.

New Phone? Don’t Bury the Old One in a Junk Drawer — Here’s Why

Getting a new phone over the holidays? Remember to recycle your old one! It’s easy — in California, stores that sell cell phones are required to take them back for recycling. Oftentimes they’ll even give you credit towards a new device.

If you’re keeping old phones and tablets in a “junk drawer of sadness,” get those precious metals back into action! Phones contain gold, silver, copper, platinum and palladium — valuable materials that manufacturers want to reuse.

While it’s great to give your old phone a new life, never put one in your garbage or curbside recycling. Why? The lithium ion batteries can cause terrible fires in waste trucks and sorting facilities.

Find ways to recycle, donate or sell your old phone in our Recycling Guide. Find out more about why they’re so important to recycle by watching this video.

Lincoln Christmas Tree Collection

christmas tree

Compost your Christmas tree!

You can drop off trees at the Lincoln Airport at 1420 Flightline Drive (the open field adjacent to the airport) between December 26, 2019 and January 5, 2020. All lights and ornaments must be removed. No flocked or painted trees will be accepted.

You can also place Christmas trees in green waste containers if all lights and ornaments have been removed and the tree is cut to 4 feet or smaller. No flocked trees will be accepted. All trees put in green waste will be composted.

Bagged Leaf Program


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 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.

Idling Your Car: A Bad and Expensive Old Habit

Over the course of a year, how many hours do you think your minutes of car idling add up to? Quite a few, right? And probably one of the last things on everyone’s mind is questioning whether or not it’s a good thing to let your car idle while you’re waiting — whether you’re picking someone up or checking a text message.

But, it’s not a bad thing to consider. Old advice warns us that restarting our cars uses a lot of gas or might be hard on our starters, so we should just leave cars running. However, what most people don’t know is that with electronic ignition, it only takes 10 seconds of idling time to equal the power of restarting your car. So if you’re idling your car for longer than 10 seconds, it makes economic sense to turn it off.

Is this mechanically sound advice? Most organizations advise a somewhere between a 10 and 60 second rule. There is an added strain on your starter and battery, but that amounts to minimal cost, and some experts say that idling is much harder on your engine than restarting it. Either way, the cost of maintenance isn’t much compared to what you’d be saving in gas.

The average driver spends about 16 minutes a day idling. If you have a small 4-cylinder engine and can cut out only 5 minutes of idling per day, you will save about $30 per year. If your car has a larger engine or you can reduce your idling by more — say, 10 minutes per day — you could save up to $200 per year. Even in cold weather, most cars in most conditions don’t need more than 30 seconds of idling to warm up. After that, they warm up better while in motion (and it’s better for them). You just need to avoid accelerating quickly for the first few minutes.

Not only do you save money when you refuse to let your engine idle — you reduce your carbon footprint too. Nationwide, the U.S. wastes 3.8 million gallons of gas each day by idling. However, if we could stop idling altogether, not just for one day, but all year, that would be like taking over 2.6 million passenger cars off the road — that’s more than all the passenger vehicles in the state of Connecticut.

Are you in the habit of idling your car? Here are common places for idling:

  • Schools
  • Driveways
  • Drive-throughs
  • Car washes
  • Gas stations
  • Banks

A lot of idling also occurs in traffic, but it can be dangerous to turn off your engine in these instances, and it is illegal to do so in several states.

The bottom line? If you’re going to be idling for longer than 30 seconds, and you don’t need the heat or AC on to keep anyone from freezing or burning up, turn the car off. You’ll be saving money and the environment at the same time.

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.

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!