Officials provide tips for safe disposal during holiday season

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Lee County Sheriff’s Office suggest residents hold onto their holiday gift boxes for safety precaution.

With the holiday season coming to an end, if you have recently purchased a TV, laptop, or other valuable items as a Christmas gift, it’s best not to throw your empty cardboard boxes outside of your driveway and leave them in plain sight for everyone to see what you were gifted. Last year, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office partnered with Waste Pro by providing several locations to dispose of your boxes.

“Last year we had a unique partnership with Lee County Sheriff’s Office where we provided dumpsters at various locations around the county for people to bring packaging from really large expensive gifts like large TV’s, peloton, you know things like that. The idea behind it was to not have it in front of your house for an extended period of time sort of advertising to some folks that you have these great things in your home,” said Division Vice President of Waste Pro in Southwest Florida, Bill Jones.

This year due to Hurricane Ian and the debris sitting on the side of the road, that partnership was suspended.

“This year there’s already challenges because of Hurricane Ian. Really the concern this year was that if we put those containers out, there could be a higher level of illegal dumping, contamination, there could be problems because there’s still debris on the roads. We thought this year we could take a pause on it and we’ll rebuild it next year when life is a little bit more normal,” said Jones.

Instead of just throwing out your boxes in front of your door with all the debris left from Hurricane Ian, Waste Pro says you should separate each item and place them in the trash or recycling bin. If you’re throwing out your Christmas tree, it’s best to take out the ornaments and light bulbs.

“If you still have a debris pile from Ian, make sure your normal garbage and recycling bin is separated from that. Maybe in the side of the driveway or at least visually separate so it’s easier for our employees to see what it is. You can put boxes in your recycle container if you’d like, you can cut them down, and fold them up. I would definitely recommend that for the most expensive items, that way you’re not advertising that you have them,” said Jones.

A regular schedule will not be interrupted this year, Waste Pro will be working normal hours after Christmas and New Year’s.

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