With the holiday season coming to an end and all of the post-Christmas trash being wheeled out in curbside bins, now is the time to evaluate the waste that you created and to begin planning how you can reduce your own waste in the New Year.
There’s a reason for the order of the phrase ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’. Reducing waste is ideal because using less stuff means less pollution. Reusing products reduces the item’s greenhouse gas footprint, reduces the amount of waste going to landfills, eliminates the need to reprocess materials, and it saves you money!
When you’ve reduced and reused as much as you can but still end up with extra materials, it’s now time to turn to recycling. Keep in mind, there are some products that claim to be recyclable but can’t go into your curbside recycling bin, so be wary of those problem products and always check what types of materials your city accepts for recycling.
Here is a quick recycling guide for common holiday waste that may be piling up at your house:
- Cardboard: Curbside recycling programs accept flattened corrugated cardboard - just be sure to break down cardboard boxes.
- Packing materials: Many shipping stores accept packing peanuts, rigid foam packing, bubble wrap and other packing materials for reuse. Call your local store to ask whether it takes the materials.
- Christmas Lights: If your old holiday lights no longer work first try repairing, but if all else fails be sure to recycle them. If your community doesn't have a seasonal recycling program, you can always mail them in with no recycling fee.
- Ornaments and decorations: Holiday decorations can be reused for years. However, if you grow tired of the decorations, donate them to thrift stores or post them for free on websites like Freecycle, Nextdoor, or craigslist. Make sure the decorations are in decent condition.
- Christmas trees: Most communities have Christmas tree pick up or drop off services for residents, if you can’t find any information call your city’s recycling/ solid waste department. If you have a green bin for yard waste, cut your tree into pieces that fit in the bin. Check out the National Christmas Tree Association for other ideas.
- For all other materials: Use Earth911.com to search for recycling options near you.
Thank you for your support this year. We hope you’ll continue supporting us into the new-year as we enter a new legislative session with many important waste and recycling solutions that we’ll be introducing in the first couple months of 2017. Stay tuned for updates on new legislation!