The weeks before Christmas may be the busiest time of year for retailers, but it's the week after the holiday that's busy for trash collectors.
"It's a given that this week of the year there is more trash," said Calvin Davidson, recycling manager for Ray's Trash Service, which collects residential garbage in most of Hendricks County, west of Indianapolis.
There was no trash pickup on Christmas Day in most communities, and trash collections were delayed the rest of the week. In Clay County, most trash was picked up on Friday. The same is expected to be true this week, as well.
Meanwhile, people clearing their homes of post-holiday clutter were dragging Christmas trees, wrapping paper, garbage from yuletide feasts and boxes -- lots of boxes -- out to the curb.
Brazil residents can call the street department to have their Christmas trees picked up.
"We see a lot more cardboard this time of year because of all the Christmas toys, plasma TVs and microwaves," said John Workman, assistant administrator for the solid-waste collection program in Indianapolis.
Justin Bolenbaugh, who collects trash from nearly 1,000 homes in northern Indiana's Goshen for BFI Waste Service, said boxes are the most common element of holiday trash.
"I've picked up some houses where there's only been one or two containers, and then places where there's one or two bucketloads," Bolenbaugh said Monday. "There's certain areas where you could see a lot of kids didn't go without."
Some cities and towns increase their limit on trash collections. In Noblesville, a suburb north of Indianapolis, street department crews will haul away up to eight containers of garbage this week, twice the normal limit.
While much of the holiday trash will end up in landfills, trees are another matter. Many communities have recycling programs for discarded trees.
By the end of January, Indianapolis officials hope to have collected 75,000 trees at seven city parks. The trees will be chopped into mulch for use in parks and other public areas, said Lindsey Purcell, Indy Parks forestry supervisor.