U.S. catalog companies sent out nearly 17 billion of their slick magazines last year, using nearly 3.6 million tons of paper.
Gardnerville resident Barbara Flanagan said at least 6 feet worth of catalogs will end up at her house this holiday season.
"If it only takes (paper waste from) from three people to equal a tree, and you multiply (recycling efforts) by the number of trees in a forest, you can save a forest," she said.
A former Manhattan Beach, Calif., resident, Flanagan said she was forced to start recycling there because trash rates were slated to be increased unless community recycling efforts improved.
"Once I got in the habit, I couldn't stop," she said.
Her interest in recycling led her to the Douglas County Transfer Station, where she prompted officials to expand services to include recycling of slick, glossy magazines.
The transfer station is on land owned by Douglas Disposal, Inc., which contracts with Douglas County to provide recycling services at the site of the former dump at the end of Pinenut Road.
Jeanne Lear, resource manager for Douglas Disposal, said Flanagan's suggestion was accepted readily and recently put into action.
Last year, its first year of operation, the transfer station received 8,000 tons of recyclable garbage from Carson Valley.
Lear said it takes recyclables, including glossy magazines, aluminum, cardboard, paper, metals, oil, car batteries, hazardous household waste, wood, and green waste for composting.
It is not a profitable business, Lear said, unless specific recyclables are targeted, such as aluminum.
Most of the recyclables are baled into 20-ton loads for shipping to businesses that purchase the products for recycling. The slick paper is exported to Pacific Rim countries for recycling.
"We try to do what we can," said Lear. "You have to walk before you can run."
Recycling efforts in Douglas County are slow but steady, especially in the area of compost waste.
"It is going very well, considering what we have," Lear said. "Carson yardworking here is done all year long, and we may be expanding our recycled to compost (programs) in the future."
Flanagan said she hopes Valley residents will be encouraged to recycle -- especially those glossy magazines and catalogs.
"I just hope everybody will take advantage of this service," she said. "We could save a forest."
Community recycling bins are at Gene L. Scarselli, Jacks Valley and Gardnerville elementary schools, and Hollbrook Station. A receptacle may be placed at Western Nevada Community College soon.