“It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.” -The Grinch
Unlike the Grinch’s holiday, your weekend probably ended with odds, ends, bags and baubles scattered about. I absolutely love pretty wrapping, and none of the gifts I gave go without a sparkle bow adorning the top. But, resist the urge to clean the living room as fast as possible and take a few minutes to reduce your holiday waste.
1. Tree– That beautiful tannenbaum made the room smell like pine and held all your childhood ornaments, but 33 million Christmas trees are sold in North America every year and most end up in the landfill. Look for your nearest recycling center that will compost the trees. In Des Moines, Metro Waste Authority is collecting real trees from January 2-13 during regular trash pick-up days. Click to the MWA news for more info.
2. Lights- High-five if you were smart and used sustainable LED lights this year. If you’re getting rid of old LED strands, take them to Home Depot. The home improvement store will give you a discount on a new package of LED lights.
3. Cards- “Merry Christmas darling,” “Ho Ho Ho you’ve been good this year!” “Where did all the spiked eggnog go?” Yes, cards say the exact right holiday greeting we want to say but can’t find the words for. More than 2 billion holiday cards are bought in the U.S. annually. Recycle cards from previous years by cutting off the front and using it as a holiday postcard!
4. Ribbons- My favorite, but usually not recyclable. Americans use an average of 38,000 miles of ribbon during the holidays! Take those box bindings and take it to your nearest craft and hobby stores; they’ll reuse it in the store. Or, save it for the next thing you wrap. Next time, consider using a recyclable material, like raffia.
5. Wrapping paper- According to Eco-Chick.com, if every American family wrapped just three presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. Most wrapping paper is not recyclable, because paper mills don’t traditionally accept the shiny material. Next time consider wrapping presents in materials like sheet music, fabric, magazines and brown paper sacks.