With all of the packaging, wrapping paper, and Christmas cards that are used during the holidays, the garbage can fill up quite fast, but it doesn’t have to. Many of these items can actually be recycled with a few simple steps.
Give planet Earth the gift of being environmentally friendly by following these tips from the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society (RMRS) on how to have a green Christmas.
• Shop locally rather than ordering through services like Amazon, which tends to use excessive amounts of packaging
• Consider purchasing experiences as gifts, which don’t have the same waste as physical goods
• Look for handmade or reusable gifts and decorations at local markets and craft fairs
• Swap out the Christmas tree for a potted tree, which can be transplanted into a garden after the holidays
• Avoid plastic gift wrapping and foil-printed paper, neither of which are recyclable
• Put Christmas lights on a timer or use app-controlled ones that won’t waste energy by being on when no one is awake or at home
During the holidays:
• Put Christmas dinner scraps into the compost rather than the trash
• Remove all ribbons, bows, and other decorations before recycling wrapping paper
• Carefully open any gift bags or other packaging that could be used again in future years
• Bring old or broken Christmas lights to a local recycling depot that accepts them
• Take old Christmas trees to a local transfer station or chipping event
• Bring old or broken electronics, cell phones, batteries, small appliances, electronic instruments, and electronic toys to a local recycling depot
• Avoid putting bubble wrap and plastic air packets in curbside recycling, which won’t accept them, and take them to a local recycling depot instead
RMRS also reminds residents that the red bins are for plastic packaging, the blue bin is for cans and cartons, the grey bin is for glass, and the yellow bin is for all paper and cardboard.
When it comes to wrapping paper recycling, including even a small amount of non-recyclable material could have very damaging consequences.
“Any non-paper material mixed in is considered a contaminant – too much contamination and the whole bale could be rejected by the paper processors,” explained Leanne Koehn, community engagement manager for RMRS.
Koehn also said that anyone planning to visit a recycling depot in the first couple of days after Christmas should arrive early and prepare to possibly wait in unusually long lines.
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