Recycling Tips: Christmas Trees, Lights, Cards, and Wrapping Paper


Happy New Year, Everyone!

As we enter a new calendar year and return to everyday life, here are some tips for how to recycle some of the “trappings and trimmings” of the holidays.

1. Recycling Christmas trees. Recycled trees can be used for making compost or mulch. Many communities now recycle Christmas trees put out on the curb for at least for a limited time after the holidays. In other places you have to take your tree to a recycling center. Check with your local services to see what the rules and deadlines are for curbside collection. Or you can find out where to bring trees for recycling here. (NOTE: Please don’t give up easily if you don’t find a place right away: for some reason when I tested this link, it first told me there were NO recycling centers near Washington D.C. When I typed in “Silver Spring, MD (very near Washington DC!) it came up with an extensive list of places 🙂 There should be nearby options for almost everyone who wants to recycle their trees.)

2. Recycling holiday lights.  HolidayLeds offers discount savings coupons in exchange for recycled lights: you can mail them the lights to them for recycling (there are also some places where you can drop off the lights, through January 31). Christmas Light Source, a Texas company, has developed a unique program for recycling Christmas lights. You send them your lights, they have them recycled and then they use the money they receive for recycling to buy books for their local Toys for Tots. There may be other local options for recycling Christmas tree lights for recycling as well. But whatever you do, DON’T just throw them in the trash: there are better ways to dispose of them.

3. Recycling holiday cards They’re far too pretty to just throw away, you really can’t keep them ALL, and even just recycling them doesn’t seem right, does it?  You’ll find some great ideas for what to do with pretty holiday cards after the holidays here. (In addition to the ideas offered by KatieC (the blogger), there are a lot of good suggestions in the comments to the post.)

4. Recycling wrapping paper Some of the prettiest wrapping paper is unfortunately difficult, or even impossible, to recycle.  For the past few years I have used old calendars as wrapping paper: it’s pretty, it’s economical, and it’s a way to re-USE paper before recycling it. If you have prolific preschool artists in the family, some of their paintings and drawings may also provide pretty giftwrap for grandparents’ gifts. You can find out more about recycling wrapping paper here.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, green New Year–with less clutter, and more joy!

Janet Hulstrand is a writer/editor,  writing coach, travel blogger, and coauthor of Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home.




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