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Wait! Don’t Waste the Holidays

The presents are opened. The candles are extinguished. And, the festive season is drawing to a close, but your dreams of a green holiday don’t have to be put down for a long-winter’s nap.

When it’s time to undeck the halls and pack up the decorations, you can still give one final gift to the planet by reducing, reusing, and recycling. What are we wasting for?

Here’s what to know and do:

  • Fresh-cut trees are not recyclable, but they are compostable. And, many communities may offer mulching or even erosion control or reef programs. Check locally to find unique ways to dispose of your Christmas tree.
  • Artificial Christmas trees are not recyclable. Please consider storing and reusing these to bring comfort and joy for another year. If nothing else, please consider donating the tree to a local charity.
  • If your home is beginning to feel like an e-commerce warehouse, don’t waste those cardboard boxes. These are recyclable. Cardboard boxes may also be saved for gift boxes or flattened to use as an alternative to landscaping paper come spring.
  • Save gift bags. These can be used for birthdays or a future holiday. They’re truly the gifts that keep on giving. Green it forward in the future.
  • If you used tissue paper or wrapping paper, save it for reuse. Why waste these if they’re perfectly salvageable? If you find that reusing the wrapping or tissue paper won’t work for gift wrap, consider using it for art projects such as paper flowers or pressed paper on canvas. You may even craft upcycled decorations for next year.
  • String lights don’t belong in your curbside cart. These can cause serious damage to recycling equipment and even harm recycling center staff. Check locally to see what stores may offer recycling programs for string lights.
  • Return plastic bags and plastic wrap to participating retail locations.
  • Compost fresh greens. These aren’t trash.
  • Don’t waste food. Instead rethink leftovers. These can be a lifesaver after the holidays.
  • Check your recycling day. Schedules often shift locally during the holidays; however, your local recycling program’s website will ensure you’re putting your cart out on the right day.

Recycling doesn’t end with the holidays. For more recycling tips, tricks, and year-round resources, visit recyclingpartnership.org.

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