Celebrate an eco friendly and green Christmas. Plan ahead and remember to incorporate reducing, reusing, and recycling in daily habits and lifestyle both during the holidays and year round.
Set up recycling bins before any holiday or christmas party, big or small. The bins need not be the ones given to households by the city; many types of containers will do:
- Generic large plastic bins
- Clean garbage bins or wastepaper bins
- Paper shopping bags
- Big cardboard boxes.
Have one bin for each type of packaging:
- Clear glass
- Colored glass
- Aluminum cans
- Plastic by number
Take paper and markers or even crayons and create colorful signs, one for each bin. Label what goes in the bin.
Depending upon how much sorting people are willing to do after the party, less bins may be appropriate.
Reuse and Recycle Cardboard
People send each other gifts in the mail, and these gifts are usually in sturdy, corrugated cardboard boxes. Do not throw boxes and packing material away.
- Break down mailing boxes for recycling.
- Break down and keep the mailing boxes. Reuse them next time mailing a package.
- Give boxes to a friend who is moving.
- Give extra boxes to somebody who sells on Ebay. Ebay entrepreneurs may also appreciate leftover packing material.
- Keep boxes for personal storage needs.
Creating one’s own gift wrap is a good way to ensure that gift packaging is earth friendly. Thankfully, many shipping companies no longer use Styrofoam peanuts. When they do, save and reuse them instead of throwing them away.
Store-bought wrapping paper and bows are easily saved and used again. Stick-on bows almost always remain intact, and affix to a package with a small piece of tape. Nobody wants to save wrinkled or dog-eared gift wrap, but sometimes the paper from a large present does remain intact and can be reused to wrap a small present next year. Best idea is to use recyclable gift wrap.
Sturdy gift bags can be used numerous times. Save gift bags received and use them for gift wrapping or other purposes, such as a lunch bag or reusable shopping bag.
Holiday and Christmas Cards
Some cards received are sentimental and remain keepsakes for many years. Christmas cards that come down with the rest of the decorations need not be thrown away or recycled.
Snip off the part of the card that was written on with a pair of scissors. The personal, written on part goes in paper recycling. Offer the colorful pictures from holiday cards to a local preschool or daycare. Many teachers and caregivers will appreciate these free art and craft supplies.
Taking down the Christmas tree is a huge job. Christmas celebrants with a fireplace or wood burning stove have an easy way to dispose of the Christmas tree. Those who don’t have a safe way to burn wood may either offer the tree to those who do, or find out if the local recycling center takes wood or old trees.