ORANGE COUNTY –  The holiday season is a busy time of year for everyone, but particularly for the Orange County Solid Waste Management Department.

Muriel Williman of Orange County Recycling says waste increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

“That’s a huge increase—25 percent. That amounts to about 25 million tons per year, or one more tons per week every week for that duration [during the Holidays],” Williman says.

Williman explains that the department is already seeing an increase in the amount of materials being recycled as people do their holiday shopping and recycle items— like cardboard boxes. Williman notes that corrugated cardboard is banned from trash bins in Orange County but can be recycled.

As curbside recycling bins fill up, Williman says there are other methods to ensure that your recycling is picked up.

“If people have extra material, they can always use a laundry basket or a milk crate—any rigid plastic container similar in size and dimension to their curbside bin,” Williman says.

Orange County was the state’s leader in waste reduction from 2011-2012 with a 59 percent reduction rate. Williams says that though that is a positive statistic, at least 25 percent of what the county’s residents throw away is readily recyclable plastic and glass bottles, metal cans and paper, according to data collected by the Orange County Landfill.

“There is a state law that says aluminum cans and plastic bottles must be recycled. If you see one in the trash can and stick it in the recycling bin, not only are you helping someone else comply with the law, but you are taking the material out of the trash and feeding it to local industry, and they really want that,” Williman says

Williman explains that we throw away 25 percent of compostable paper on a daily basis as well.

To view the curbside recycling holiday schedule for Orange County, click here.