Solid Waste Authority Offers Tips to Celebrate Thanksgiving with Less Waste

Thanksgiving is a time when many people are busy planning, preparing, cooking, eating, and discarding leftovers from their feasts – sometimes unaware of how much extra waste is being generated.

November 24, 2020

Thanksgiving is a time when many people are busy planning, preparing, cooking, eating, and discarding leftovers from their feasts – sometimes unaware of how much extra waste is being generated. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the amount of trash produced in the United States increases by an estimated 25% - that is about one million extra tons of garbage each week.

The Authority appreciates the recycling efforts from residents in the region and would like to remind them of simple ways they can trim their garbage cans while trimming their turkeys.

Cooking Oil/Grease: The Authority accepts used cooking oil/kitchen grease from residents year-round at its Utica EcoDrop Monday-Friday from 8am-4pm and Saturday from 7am-2pm. Authority facilities will be closed on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 26th) but will reopen on Friday, November 27th.

Residents may deliver liquid cooking grade fats, oil and grease at no charge. The material is stored in 300-gallon plastic containers and picked up by a rendering company to be recycled into animal feed. Residents should transport used oils/fats/grease in sealed, unbreakable, leak-proof containers. Restaurants and businesses should contact a rendering company for direct pick-up.

If you are unable to deliver cooking oil to the EcoDrop, please let the oil/grease cool and solidify, then scrape it into a container that can be thrown away. Cooking oil/grease should never be poured down the drain.

Cartons/Aseptic Packaging: Cartons such as heavy whipping cream, milk, juice, chicken/beef broth and more are accepted through the Authority’s RecycleOne program. Please empty and rinse cartons and place in your curbside recycling container.

Aluminum Foil, Trays and Baking Tins: These items are accepted for curbside recycling year-round, however they must be empty and rinsed before placing them in the bin. If you have aluminum foil items that are contaminated with food that cannot be rinsed off, please place them in your regular garbage.

Leftover Food Scraps: Food scraps from meal preparation and leftovers that were not eaten in time do not have to be thrown in the garbage. The Authority’s Food2Energy program allows for the recovery of food scraps to divert them from the Regional Landfill and utilize them for energy.

The Authority offers a voluntary Food2Energy drop-off program for residents to deliver inedible food scraps. Food scraps must be delivered in a clear plastic bag and there is no requirement to remove packaging as the Authority is able to separate the packaging from food scraps. Food2Energy costs $2 per 35-gallon clear bag. (Cooking oil is NOT accepted through the Food2Energy program and must be delivered separately.) To view the full list of acceptable material or for more information on Food2Energy, visit www.ohswa.org.

Reusable Items: The Authority encourages residents to reuse items whenever possible and there are many options to replace disposable items with reusable ones during the holiday season.

  • Use real dishes and silverware to avoid waste from paper or plastic cups, plates and cutlery.
  • Avoid plastic wrap for leftovers by using food storage containers instead.
  • Use natural objects such as gourds, cinnamon sticks, acorns and pinecones to brighten your space instead of shopping for store-bought decor.

As important as it is to reduce, reuse and recycle during the holiday season, remember that reuse and recycling opportunities can be utilized year-round to conserve landfill space, natural resources and energy.

For more information on recycling and waste disposal, please visit www.ohswa.org or contact (315) 733-1224. The Authority also encourages residents and businesses to visit www.AmIRecyclable.com, which provides users with a tool to quickly search thousands of items for proper recycling and disposal methods.

There is no change in solid waste and recyclables collection for City of Utica residents. Please place blue bags and recycling containers out according to your regular schedule.

There is no change in solid waste and recyclables collection for the Villages of Mohawk, Ilion, Herkimer, Dolgeville and Frankfort. Garbage and recyclables will be picked up as scheduled.