Welcome to our first monthly installment. My name is Kendra Bruno (Compost Girl!) and I am currently serving as the Waste Prevention Specialist for the City of Napa.

Have you ever stood there looking between the landfill, recycling, and compost containers wondering which bin the item in your hand goes? Knowing which container to use can be confusing – especially when things are made out of an increasing number of different materials. There are times when I am even left befuddled and have to do some research to find out.

I hope to remedy some of the confusion surrounding “trash” with this monthly column and ultimately help you reduce the amount of material sent to landfill. If there is a specific question you want answered, please email me at: Kbruno@cityofnapa.org and I am happy to answer it. It may even be featured in one of our future articles.

Please note: recycling/composting/landfill is different from city to city, so the information I provide is true for Napa (& County) Recycling & Waste Services customers. If you live elsewhere, confirm with your hauler or city.

As an introductory article, I wanted to share eight tips to “Go Green” this holiday season:

1) Compost It — All food (including eggshells, bones, meat and dairy) and food-soiled paper, e.g. napkins and pizza boxes, can be put into your brown compost/yard trimmings cart. I always recommend using reusable dishware, but if using disposable dishware, put paper plates into your compost cart.

2) Recycle — NRWS/NCRWS accepts rigid plastics (no plastic bags, please) marked #1-7, metal, glass, paper and cardboard in our single stream recycle cart, free of charge. Don’t throw those Amazon.com boxes away – break them down and recycle them. Eco-Star status: re-use for presents and then recycle!

3) Recycle More — The City of Napa’s Recycle More program offers free curbside pickup of e-waste (including Christmas lights), metal appliances, used clothing and shoes, used cooking oil, and batteries (when combined with other items). Available only to City of Napa residents. Visit NapaRecycling.com to schedule your free pick up.

4) Energy Conservation — Use LED holiday lights instead of the traditional incandescent lights – they last up to 10 times longer and use 80 percent less energy. See above for old Christmas light disposal.

5) Eco-Wrap that — Instead of purchasing wrapping paper (though most types are recyclable), get creative and use comics, posters, maps, reusable gift bags, and calendars (perfect timing!) to wrap your gifts. Eco-Star status: Cut up old greeting cards and turn into gift tags.

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6) Less Stuff — Buy experiences to museums, parks, plays, shows, social events, or the movies. We have so many amazing venues and events in Napa – choosing which one to give is the hard part.

7) Batteries — Purchase re-chargeable batteries for all those new gadgets for the kids (and adults). Newer models can charge in as little as 15 minutes. A one-time investment will save you money – and make you an environmental champion. Remember: recycle your old batteries by dropping them off at our 20 locations in town. Go to NapaRecycling.com and click Recycling Guide for more information.

8) Wine Corks — There is nothing like a (few) bottle(s) of wine alongside holiday meals. If you want to be on Santa’s extra good list, recycle your natural wine corks at Whole Foods, Vallerga’s Market, or the Napa Valley Vintners office or toss them in your compost cart.

Remember to recycle and compost all that you can. Nationwide, 25 percent more waste is generated during the winter holiday season than any other time of the year, equaling 25 million extra tons in five weeks.

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