With Christmas time approaching, the Ogle County Solid Waste Management Department offers several ideas to reduce waste and impact on the environment while still enjoying the spirit of Christmas.
When picking out gifts consider ones that support reuse such as thrift stores and antique shops as well as fair trade stores offering products made from natural or recycled materials.
Limit the number of gifts you purchase and consider ideas where second hand gifts can be exchanged rather than thrown away.
Shop locally and use reusable bags when shopping. If you purchase online choose a vendor as close to your location as possible to reduce fuel consumption and pollution.
Make your own gifts or baked goods rather than purchasing them, or consider giving the gift of time with a loved one, local nursing home, food pantry or other charity.
Consider reusing wrapping paper or using no wrapping paper at all. Also bed sheets can be used for larger gifts rather than wasting large amounts of wrapping paper.
Use electronic or postcard greeting cards to reduce paper waste and postage costs.
When decorating your house with lights use light emitting diode (LED) light options instead of conventional lights, they consume around one-tenth of the energy and product less heat.
Consider locally grown or organic food while planning holidays meals to reduce the impact on the environment. Also avoid disposable dinnerware and utensils to cut down on trash.
Recycle as much of the holiday waste as possible, and if your bins are overflowing use a tote of extra garbage can for recyclables. When recycling wrapping paper do not include plastic bags, bows or ribbons.
For those without curbside recycling, Ogle County drop-off recycling stations are located in Byron, Forreston, Monroe Center, Oregon and Rochelle. For Polo area residents a recycling container is located at Franklin and Locust Streets, provided by Moring Disposal. Orchard Hills Landfill in Davis Junction has a recycling container provided by Advanced Disposal Service. Styrofoam, plastic bags, bows and ribbons are not accepted, and boxes and plastic containers should be flattened to make extra space in the bins.
For those purchasing a live-cut Christmas tree a locally grown one helps support the local economy and reduces environmental impact compared to those trucked in from outside the area. After the holidays Christmas trees will be accepted for recycling through January 18, 2016 at the following locations: IL Route 2 and S. Peru Street in Byron; 407 N. Locust Street in Forreston; 208 W. Railroad Street in Leaf River; Lichty’s Landscaping at 309 Pacific Street in Monroe Center; Park District Maintenance Department on Hill Street in Oregon; 410 N. Prairie Avenue in Polo; and Atwood Park at 10th Avenue and 20th Street in Rochelle.
There will also be curbside collection of Christmas trees for recycling done by FFA groups on January 9 in Mount Morris, Oregon, Byron, Polo, Adeline, German Valley and Forreston. Trees will be accepted at the curb in Rochelle January 2-18 by the Rochelle Street Department.
Broken holiday lights and extension cords should be recycled rather than being disposed of. They will be accepted until January 31 at the fire stations in Byron, Mount Morris, Rochelle and Stillman Valley; at the Ogle County Courthouse and the Ogle County Solid Waste Management Department; and at the Village/City Halls of Polo, Forreston and Davis Junction.
For those needing to dispose of TVs, computers and other consumer electronics that have been banned from landfills in Illinois, some can be recycled at Secure Recycling Services in Dixon, Best Buy stores, and Staples stores.
The Ogle County Solid Waste Management Department will be offering an electronics recycling collection for Ogle County residents on Friday, December 18 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at 909 West Pines Road in Oregon. For more information, details, fees and restrictions visit oglecounty.org or call 815-732-4020.
The City of Rochelle offers a curbside electronics recycling program to residents for a fee, for more information on this program contact Rochelle City Hall or the RMU Customer Service line at 815-562-4155.