Environmental awareness is critical to organic living, and reports estimate a whopping 6 million tons of extra waste are generated nationwide between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

By making your post-holiday cleanup more environment-friendly, you can start the new year off with a clean house—and a clear conscience. The experts at The UPS Store offer the following suggestions.   

Recycle packaging peanuts. Many shipping businesses, like The UPS Store, accept clean foam packaging peanuts for reuse.   

Reuse wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, tissue paper, gift bags and boxes. You’ll be amazed at how handy they are for various holidays throughout the year.   

Recycle greeting cards. Save cards and cut them up to use as gift tags next year, or put them aside for children’s art projects.   

Recycle your tree. If you have a live tree, consider planting it or donating it to a local school or nursing home. If you have a cut tree, have it chipped into mulch, or check locally to see if your neighborhood offers tree recycling.   

Donate old toys, clothes or unwanted gifts. Use this time of year to sort through your closets and donate the surplus to a local charity. Many organizations even offer a free pickup service that can be scheduled at your convenience.