Holiday Recycling Guide: Make Your Celebrations Eco-Friendly

5 Holiday Items You Should Be Recycling

We Americans love our holidays and we tend to go big when it comes to celebrating. Unfortunately, celebrations can have a significant impact on the environment, making holiday recycling even more important. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, an American household generates about 25 percent more waste than at other times of the year. That’s a million extra tons of trash. Each and every household can help prevent millions of tons of household waste from ending up in landfills. Start by thinking about what you’re buying in the first place: if you purchase recycled-paper greeting cards and gift-wrap, you’re already helping. Buying rechargeable batteries for all those toys and electronic gifts also help, because you’ll use those batteries for a year or two before they need to be replaced.

Shipping Materials

With the rise of online holiday shopping comes a glut of packing and shipping materials. Re-use what you can, then be sure the rest is recycled, not placed in the trash. It can be tempting when the recycle bin is full to use the trash for the overflow, so you can get your cleanup done, but if each household puts some holiday recycling in the trash, it adds up quickly to a significant amount of recyclable material that gets dumped into the landfill. If you’re overloaded with recyclables, hold on to the overflow until your bins are emptied, or consider making a trip to an eco-friendly recycling company to drop it off.

Christmas Trees

If decorating a cut tree is part of your family’s holiday tradition, make sure that you get all the ornaments and lights off of it, then take the tree to a drop-off site where it will be mulched and re-used in landscaping. The City of Chicago encourages holiday recycling with a program that turns trees into mulch, as do many other cities. If you’re replacing an artificial tree, the old tree is probably recyclable, too, since many of them have frames made of aluminum.

String Lights

If you’re discarding old string lights, don’t put them in the trash! They’re made of copper covered in recyclable PVC plastic, and the light sockets may also contain more copper or brass. Recycling copper means less mining for new copper. A small amount of extra holiday recycling effort adds up to a big help for the environment.

Paper Goods

Any paper goods that aren’t greasy and don’t have food on them are excellent candidates for holiday recycling: gift wrap, tissue paper, packing paper, and greeting cards. It’s critical that all the paper turned in for recycling is clean. Residue from food and grease can actually soak out of the paper and ruin a whole recycle batch, which results in recyclable materials being thrown into the landfill.

Batteries & E-Waste 

Old batteries, televisions, computers and other electronics should never be thrown in the trash, because they contain toxic substances that can be released into the soil and ground water at the landfill. Collect these items for proper e-waste disposal with an eco-friendly recycling company, and they’ll be broken down to their components and recycled safely.

Bring Holiday Recycling to Your Local Recycling Center

At Combined Resources, Inc., we understand that the holiday season is a busy time for everyone, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. By being mindful of our natural environment and the impact we can have on it, and taking a few extra steps toward preserving its well being, each of us can honor the spirit of the holidays. To learn more about working with an eco-friendly recycling company, and how and what you can recycle, contact us.

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