While we enjoy brightening up the holiday with lights, decorations, and gifts, this often leaves us with some cleaning dilemmas to confront as we prepare for the New Year.
At Byers, we are big on repurposing, recycling and keeping our operations green. Whether it is solar energy, our EV fleet, or the way we manage our supply chain, we are thinking green and understand that this is both a part of saving and being responsible for our practices.
Here are a few suggestions to help green and simplify your holiday clean up:
– Christmas Cards
Christmas cards can be separated from their envelopes and set aside for making gift tags for next year. Nothing more than a little imagination and a pair of scissors needed for this craft project.
– Christmas Tree
Be sure to remove all decorations and trimming from the tree (tinsel, too!). During the first weeks following the holidays, there are disposal/recycling options and many are free. Don’t wait and let your decaying Christmas tree become a fire hazard.
If you have a green curbside pickup, you can put your tree in this bin, though it needs to be cut to fit and cannot include any ornaments or stands.
Waste Management Services often provides free disposal. Check with your recycling center or trash pick up for these free drop off bins. Local newspapers often publish these locations, too.
– Christmas Lights
Holiday lights include plastic, copper and other metals. They need to be recycled, not put into the trash. Check your County office for the best recycling options.
– Gift Wrap
Save gift bags for reuse
Fold and store large sheets of paper for reuse
Remove all bows and baubles and recycle what cannot be used
Do not burn your holiday wrap in your stove or fireplace—many gift wraps contain toxic ink—safe for routine designated use, but these inks can contain heavy metals which can create airborne particulates once burned. Lastly, burning paper can float up the chimney and is a fire hazard.
– Packing materials
Clean, gently used bubble wrap and peanuts can often be donated to either UPS or FedEx. Many UPS Store and FedEx locations accept clean, foam packaging peanuts and bubble cushioning for reuse.
You can also opt to designate an area in your garage for reusable packing materials and save on buying these items for future needs—this breaks the ‘single-use’ cycle with simple reuse.
– Cardboard gift and delivery boxes
With millions of shoppers choosing delivery to crowded malls, cardboard boxes are a big part of the post-holiday cleanup.
If you intend to discard your boxes, break your cardboard boxes down so they are flat and can be picked up in your recycling curbside bin.
Consider upgrading your holiday decorations storage and re-using some of these boxes to better organize your decorations for next year.
Another innovative option is the Give Back Box. This program gives the box a second life by using a box to provide donations to people in need. Basically, you fill the emptied cardboard boxes with gently used clothing and household items you no longer need and prepare to ship. You choose the agency you wish to donate to, print a shipping label and pay a nominal shipping fee (often $15). Check this out at https://givebackbox.shop/.
Want to shortcut this? Fill a few of these boxes with things you don’t need and drop off at your favorite local charity. This re-uses the box and shares the spirit of holiday giving with others.
Need help finding the best place to recycle near you? Do a quick search at Earth911 for local resources.