Trees (2)

Tips for a Greener Holiday Season


 Holiday Entertaining

After the Party’s over …

Plastic beverage bottles and jugs (remember to check the resin code before recycling), clean aluminum pans and dishes, aluminum cans, are some of the common items that can be placed in the recycling bin when cleaning up after the holiday celebrations. Many restaurants and caterers are replacing foam carry out containers with recyclable cardboard. Just remember to remove any sections soaked with grease or food residue before placing the cardboard containers in the recycle bin.

Holiday Cards

Cards and envelopes made from paper materials are recyclable. Cards printed on photo paper should be disposed of in the trash. Cards decorated with metallic, plastic or other non- paper materials go in the trash or repurpose these for crafts and decorating gift packages. If only the front of the card is decorated tear it in half and recycle the paper portion.

Gift Wrappings and Ribbons

Plain paper gift wrap can be recycled but many gift wrap papers are not recyclable. If the paper is shiny, has a metallic or plastic finish, or is flocked it cannot be recycled. Before you throw it in the trash, think about reusing it for next year’s gifts or repurpose the paper by using it to line shelves and drawers. Most gift ribbons and bows are not recyclable but they can be reused.


Replacing old lights with energy efficient LEDs? Just getting rid of old lights or light strings with a few burned out bulbs?

First check on your state’s requirements on how to dispose of your old lights. Otherwise, a nearby home improvement center like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ace, and True Value offer decorative lights recycling.

Contact your city’s municipal solid waste office. Many will recycle the lights if you drop them off, so give a call and ask. They may have even set up a collection day for old lights or be able to direct you to a local drop-off spot.

You can also check out HolidayLEDS for their year-round mail-in recycling program.

If you ship your old lights to Holiday LEDS Recycling, pack them up in a box, cushioned by some wadded-up newspaper, and ship them regular mail.

Recycling companies collect millions of pounds of old lights every year and ship them to reclamation facilities. The facilities crush the lights, separate the individual materials, and then bundles those off for reuse. It’s a way to “mine” existing products to reduce the need to go after virgin resources—which is why it makes environmental sense.

Trees and Wreaths

Many communities provide curbside pickup for the end of a fresh Christmas tree’s life cycle. Call your local municipality or trash hauler or look on their website to find out.

Other cities and towns have recycling points where trees can be dropped off and ground into mulch. Some even offer a free bag of mulch in exchange.

Visit the web site Earth911 and search your ZIP code for places that recycle Christmas trees. Many Home Depots, Boy Scout troops or local nonprofits will take Christmas trees at no cost.

No matter who takes your tree, always be sure all ornaments and decorations have been removed (even that sticky tinsel) before you discard it.

The same rules apply to fresh wreaths which can be discarded along with a tree.

If no local resources are available, try to find a friend or neighbor with a wood chipper who can shred the tree and other evergreens for you.

Cardboard Boxes

All those online orders means lots of cardboard boxes and they can be recycled if they’re not reused.

The important thing to remember is to break them down flat before placing boxes in the recycle bin.

With just a few steps, it’s easy to have a greener holiday.

Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle, and Reduce.

Buy gifts and products made from recycled materials

Reduce the gift wrapping load with a gift of entertainment, tickets to the movies or theater or a gift card for a special restaurant. Pamper someone with a gift card for a spa visit. Gamers will appreciate a gift card for playtime on their favorite video game.

Always follow the rules and regulations for proper recycling. Don’t just wish and hope something can be recycled, when in doubt, check with your local recycler before putting it in the recycle bin.


Have a Green and Happy New Year!


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