Let the holiday cleanup begin

It's Christmas Day, and the 5 a.m. frenzy is over.

Mom and Dad are sitting on the couch sipping coffee and wishing they hadn't stayed up quite so late assembling that bicycle or dollhouse, while the kids are waging battles with Beyblades or moving to the latest version of Dance Dance Revolution on their brand new Wii.

And the living room is in a shambles -- torn wrapping paper is strewn everywhere, packing peanuts are spilling out of cardboard boxes and that Christmas tree that was so green and lovely a few weeks ago is looking kind of brown around the edges.

Local officials are hoping that residents will decide to recycle all of that holiday debris instead of tossing it into the garbage before heading to Grandma's for Christmas dinner.

From Jan. 2 to 15, Richland residents can recycle Christmas trees in the parking lots at the George Prout Memorial Pool on Swift Boulevard or at Badger Mountain Park on Keene Road. Trees also can be taken to the Horn Rapids landfill on Twin Bridges Road.

Pasco residents can take their trees for recycling at the Basin Disposal transfer station on Dietrich Road, said city spokesman Jon Funfar.

Basin Disposal also will pick up trees left along with Pasco residents' garbage, but they won't be recycled, Funfar said.

Waste Management did not return a message asking how Kennewick residents can dispose of Christmas trees.

As for the rest of that holiday waste, Richland offers these tips:

w Wrapping paper and the cardboard tubes can be reused or recycled as scrap paper in drop boxes or the city's curbside bins. Greeting cards also can be recycled in drop boxes, or can be given to the Richland Senior Association, 500 Amon Park Drive.

w Foam packing peanuts can be donated to nonprofit SIGN Fracture Care International to pack orthopedic implants for shipment to doctors in developing countries. SIGN also will accept sturdy cardboard boxes. Call 371-1107 or go to www.sign-post.org for more information.

w Store extra bows, tissue paper, gift boxes and bags for use throughout the year.

For more tips or information about recycling, go to www.ci.richland.wa.us/recycling.