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Handling your holiday waste: From Christmas lights to wrapping paper

Over the holidays, we toss out a million tons of holiday waste. And we call it the season of giving, but it feels like the season of wasting when you hear that fact.

Seriously though, this time of year can be extremely wasteful. Needlessly so. Which is why we’re going to troubleshoot three common items people toss out during the holidays and how to correctly dispose of them. For everything we don’t cover, here’s a mantra you can keep top of mind (you might have heard of it somewhere…): reduce, reuse, recycle.

Let’s make it the season of giving… but, like, let’s give to the planet, instead of just to each other (and our garbage bins). That way we can ensure that the planet keeps giving to us.

Christmas lights

They’re garbage—sorry, mostly garbage. In some communities, there are special programs that’ll accept intact and broken lights. You could even ship them to Christmas Light Source to be recycled. Whatever you do, don’t toss them in recycling. Besides being unrecyclable, these babies wreak havoc on the equipment in your local recycling center. Also, if the lights are still good, donate them—please. Everybody has a light-crazy neighbor. I’m sure they’d appreciate the extra lighting.

Christmas trees

Most communities have special collections during and around the holiday season. Just drop your tree curbside or bring it to the appropriate drop-off location, and your city will do the rest. Make sure your tree is nude; that is, ornament- and light-free before you dispose of it. And if you have one of those plastic trees… well… reuse it, I guess. Otherwise it’ll get landfilled (or burned). They contain phthalates which are terrible for humans and the environment.

Wrapping paper

Wrapping paper, cards and paper bags with sparkles, plastic film, rope handles, ribbons, glitter, foil doodads, etc. cannot be recycled. And, if you can, a lot of this stuff can be reused. It’s easy to keep those used gift bags and reuse them! It will save you time and money next year when you’re preparing your presents. You can also cut up those sparkly greeting card covers to be used as gift tags next year! Only greeting cards that are 100% paper can go in your recycling just like any other mail you can recycle. 

So start of the new year with a gift to the environment by recycling right and reducing your holiday waste! Give yourself a sustainable gift and download our app