With Christmas, comes waste: piles of cards, mountains of gift wrap, stacks of boxes, and skeletons of discarded Christmas trees.
Most of these items can be recycled through your trash hauler’s recycling program. Creative second uses also are a possibility.
Darlene Steele, coordinator of the Madison County/London City Health Department’s Recycling & Litter Prevention program, offers the following suggestions for doing more with your holiday trash.
Greeting cards: Consider using the card fronts as tags on next year’s gifts. The designs can be incorporated into scrapbook pages, surrounding photos from the holidays. Or try donating the cards to libraries or schools where young people can use them for craft projects.
Gift wrap: Just as with greeting cards, used wrapping paper can become a colorful background or embellishment for a scrapbook page. Also, if you are a gift recipient who opens gifts carefully, you could re-use the large pieces of paper to wrap small gifts next year.
Another idea to keep in mind for next Christmas, Steele said, is to use newspaper instead of commercial wrapping paper.
“If you’re gift is for a man, you could wrap it in the sports section. If it’s something for a child, you could use the comics. It’s kind of like a conversation piece,” Steele said.
Boxes: The boxes that contain gifts can be re-used throughout the year to package other gifts or to store things. If you simply want them out of the house, Steele offers this warning.
“Say you get a new computer or some other fancy, expensive gift. Don’t just stick the box it came in out on the curb. The box ends up being an advertisement to potential burglars. Be sure to break it down into smaller pieces,” she said.
Trees: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources suggests ways to reuse live-cut Christmas trees once they’re stripped of their decorations.
“Mulching, chipping or composting Christmas trees after the holidays is a wise alternative to just throwing them in landfills,” said Derek Anderson, chief of the ODNR Division of Recycling & Litter Prevention.
Adding compost to home gardens improves soil quality, stores moisture and reduces weeds. Using Christmas trees to create outdoor brush piles makes ideal homes for wildlife. Trees also can be weighted down and sunk in farm ponds to attract fish and increase habitat, Anderson said.