Christmas is finally over and you're starting to clean up. You take down the Christmas tree and the lights on the front of your house and you have piles and piles of wrapping paper. If you're big into recycling, which you should be, then your next move is figuring out how you're going to dispose of your leftover Christmas "stuff" in a safe way that is good for the environment. Here are some of the most common leftover items and what you can do with them.
- Live Christmas Trees: For those of you that opt for a real Christmas tree, disposing of it isn't as difficult as it may sound. Most local garbage disposal companies will come around and pick up your old tree, at which point they will take it to be composted. If your city doesn't offer this service, it can be taken to any local recycling plant. If you have the tools, you can cut up your tree yourself and turn it into firewood.
- Artificial Christmas Trees: Unfortunately artificial trees can't be recycled, so you should use it over and over for as many years as possible. Then when you're ready for an upgrade, donate it to a thrift shop so it can be reused by someone else. Or you could trim the decent looking branches off and weave them into a wreath.
- Wreaths: If you make your wreath from living plants like ivy or holly, they can be thrown in the compost once the season is over. The other pieces of decorations or if you decide to go with an artificial wreath, simply deconstruct the whole thing and reuse those pieces next year, either to make another wreath or a table decoration.
- Wrapping Paper: Regular wrapping paper and gift bags can be recycled. Either use them over and over again, which is easier to do when you unwrap carefully, or take them to a recycling center. Tissue paper can go in the compost because most of it is recycled paper already.
- Christmas Lights: Lights have too many parts to simply be put into recycling, but there are places you can take them where they will do it for you, such as some hardware stores and Christmas light recycling programs. The best way to recycle them though is to reuse them for as long as possible.
- Christmas Tree Decorations: Most tree decorations cannot be recycled, including glass balls, fired clay decorations, treated wood, and plastic decorations. When you've outgrown your ornaments, donate them to a thrift store. And the next time you buy decorations, look for paper ornaments or make your own out of recyclable materials.
Disposing of your leftover Christmas items isn't always easy, but finding ways to do it in a way that's good for the environment is always worth it. Call your local garbage dumpster company and see how they can help dispose of your tree and you'll be on the right track in no time.