The holidays are over, but that doesn’t mean your trash has to be. Make sure you’re following local guidelines for disposing of Christmas trees, lights and decorations from the holidays.
- The first thing to know is that you can compost nearly anything — pine needles, tinsel and wreaths are all OK. There are a few things you shouldn’t compost though, including batteries, electronics and tree stands.
- You should also think about recycling any items that could be reused or repurposed. Gift wrap and boxes make excellent gift bags — just make sure they’re not too water-damaged to be reused as originally intended. Other recyclable items include paper gift wrap, ribbons and bows and plastic wrapping like bubble wrap.
- While the holidays often mean an increase in waste production, there are ways to shrink this footprint by buying less over time. For example, consider buying gifts that can be reused year after year instead of disposable items. If you do buy new this year, it’s worth asking whether the item is sold in bulk or one size fits all; both options tend to produce less waste than individually wrapped items. Also look for goods that come with little or no packaging at all (a good option for gifts).
- Consider donating reusable holiday items to local charities or community groups for reuse. If donating isn’t an option, consider putting your items in the trash with your regular household refuse. At the landfill, landscape debris is collected separately from household trash for recycling into natural material products like mulch or compost.
- Tree and wreath disposal. Christmas trees and wreaths that are still in good shape can be recycled or donated to community groups. Check with your local recycling center or Habitat for Humanity. If they’re not reusable, don’t burn them or leave them curbside: They could cause fires, or attract pests and other animals. Also, be sure to remove all lights and ornaments before putting the tree out for collection.