Although the months and weeks before Christmas become an increasingly busy and stressful time of year, many individuals find their agendas clear up significantly after Dec. 25. But for those at McPherson Area Solid Waste Utility, the hustle and bustle of the holidays has just begun. In the weeks following Christmas, they see a 20 percent increase in residential trash pickup, making it their busiest time of year. With the additional food packaging and waste, gift wrap and plastic, cardboard and other supplies used to entertain family and friends, trash volume adds up quickly. This means a 10 percent increase in hours on the clock for 25 to 30 employees, including trash collectors on about a dozen routes, recycling collectors, transfer station operators and other staff. “It does make for pretty long days in terms of the collection because there’s so much more they have to pick up,” said John Hawk, general manager. “They understand that this time of year there’s just more trash. Our people are good at doing it.” Rather than attempting to get it all in the dumpster in one collection day, Hawk advises individuals to spread it out over several weeks. This helps with volume control, which is more of a problem than weight increases. Any items that cannot fit into the container should be put on top, so the mechanical arm can still pick up the load. In addition, Hawk says recycling as many items as possible is also helpful. Christmas trees, leaves and other similar items are banned from being put in the dumpsters. However, individuals may bring them out to the yard waste drop-off area at the transfer station. Large items in size or weight also can be brought to the transfer station or be picked up at the home for a fee. McPherson Area Solid Waste Utility, the only similar facility in the county, processes 25,000 tons of solid waste every year.