By Dawn Burden Bates
Happy New Year!
It’s not too late to make your recycling resolutions. The holidays are finally over, and we can all hopefully begin slowing down and getting our lives back to normal.
If your home is like mine, the holidays left you with a huge mess. Empty boxes and torn wrapping paper littered the floor after the kids excitedly opened their gifts. It’s so tempting to gather it all up and throw it in the outside garbage bin.
But this is a great opportunity to not only recycle, but to reuse. Almost all of the wrapping paper and boxes can be recycled, so consider keeping your contribution out of the landfill. And for the reuse possibilities, they are practically endless.
I’m pretty sure that most of the ribbons I use have been used for several years. And many of the boxes that hold the gifts are great to use for packaging gifts next year. Do you realize that many stores now charge you for a gift box? Sheesh, I’ll save mine for next year, thank you—not to mention the gift bags. I love getting my gifts in those pretty little bags, especially since I know I will be using one for someone else’s gift somewhere down the road. Do you know how much those things cost? They are outrageous. No way would I throw them away. They are too valuable.
Now, what are we to do with the tree? If you use an artificial tree, it’s a pretty easy decision. You fold it up and store it for next year. Simple. And if you are lucky enough to live in a warm environment and purchased a live tree, including the root ball, you can get to work planting it in your yard to enjoy for years to come.
But what about cut trees? Most communities offer some sort of Christmas-tree recycling. The lucky ones have curbside pickup to recycle their trees. The rest of us need to decide what to do.
What convinces me to haul the tree to the recycling facility? I was willing to haul it home after I purchased it, so I can just as easily take it to be recycled.
Some communities use the old trees to shred and cover pathways and trails through parks. This helps repair and reduce the damage we create as we enjoy our hikes.
Some communities turn the old trees into mulch and then provide it to the public for free. What a deal!
Here are some additional resolutions to consider:
- Resolve to begin recycling if you don’t already do so. You can start small. My website, A Recycling Revolution, offers a wealth of information on how to get your recycling efforts off the ground.
- If you already recycle, step it up a notch. If your curbside recycling service doesn’t accept a particular item (like glass or cardboard), resolve to begin taking that item to the drop-off facility in your area.
- Resolve to purchase more products packaged with postconsumer recycled materials. The higher the percentage listed on the package, the better.
- Resolve to purchase more items made from recycled materials. Paper towels, toilet paper, napkins and many other paper products fall into this category.
- Resolve to purchase more items in bulk. This reduces packaging waste.
- Resolve to create at least one craft item using something you might otherwise throw away. This is fun, gets your creative juices flowing, can reduce stress and is a great way to spend some quality time with your family.
Dawn Bates is a busy wife, mother, environmentalist and webmaster of the highly informative recycling website, A Recycling Revolution. Visit the site for both basic and extensive information on recycling, composting, reusing and reducing. You may also sign up for Dawn’s recycling newsletter, Trash Talk, to gain access to freebies like downloadable recycling stickers and recycling cheat sheets.