EL PASO COUNTY — All the shopping done nationwide on Black Friday is the subject of a new report, which claims around 80% of everything purchased will end up in a landfill, incinerated, or as low-quality recycling. News 5 met with those from the El Paso County Household Hazardous Waste Facility to learn more about what can and cannot be recycled related to holiday shopping.
Those with the El Paso County Household Hazardous Waste Facility said that not everything can be recycled. They contract with Waste Management, and use their guidelines for what they accept at their drop-off center. It's one of only two recycling drop-off centers in the county, and it's free to the public as long as a person registers with the program and is either a resident of El Paso or Teller Counties. "Certainly the cardboard, you know the types of plastics that are recyclable, the TVs, if you buy a new TV and you have a small one, you can bring it here or make sure you get it recycled because it is banned from the landfill," said Kathy Andrew, who has been the El Paso County Community Services Department Environmental Division Manager for around 15 years.
The facility only accepts plastics that have been used as food or beverage containers, but they must be cleaned. "Unfortunately if we get a lot of [food] contamination in our bin then they'll haul the bin to the landfill and charge me an extra fee," said Andrew.
Andrew said the problem with packaging is a conversation to be had with manufacturers as well. "There is the Product Stewardship Council, and they're trying to work with manufacturers to try decrease packaging and that kind of thing, it's just a long road," said Andrew.
Here's a list from Waste Management regarding what holiday goods they accept:
News 5 also spoke with one smaller business, which advocated for shopping locally this holiday season as a way to cut down on the waste. "It takes a long time for clothes to break down, you throw them away they're staying for a long time," said Tina Schwaner, the owner of Frayla, which she described as a socially responsible boutique.
Schwaner said she researches all of the goods she sells before putting them into the store, and proceeds from the sales go toward things like helping people overseas, helping clean the ocean, or supporting local artisans. "I worry about it, you dont have to worry about it, everything here gives back or does something good, you just come and shop and it happens," said Schwaner.
Those behind Small Business Saturday said it's a way to support our economy, because they said small businesses are the biggest contributor to local employment. "Be aware of where they're buying, what they're buying and where it came from," said Aikta Marcoulier, the Executive Director of the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center.
Small Business Saturday is November 30, with a number of shops participating. To learn more, visit this link.