Recycling 101: Holiday Leftovers

Holiday Leftovers


Stephanie Gresham

Staff Writer

We all want to be a part of bettering the one world in which we were given to live. What better place to start than some simple recycling? In America, Christmas is the ultimate consumer holiday.  An estimated 1.9 billion Christmas cards are sent each year claiming the lives of more than 30,000 trees. This Christmas, don’t be a Grinch and dump all the Christmas wrappings and cards in the trash. There are some great ideas for recycling Holiday leftovers.

Wrapping Paper – Send used gift wrap through the shredder to create colorful but protective packaging for future gifts.  Wrapping paper, like newspaper, is excellent for cleaning windows and leaving them streak free.  For the kids, cut paper into squares and use for origami, or glue to notebooks or folders for extra color.

Holiday Cards – These can be cut into smaller rectangles and used as simple tags on gifts for next year.  Cutting taller rectangles and slipping some used ribbon through a hole in one end will provide bookmarks ideal for stocking stuffers or future gifts. Exceptionally attractive cards can even be cut out and framed creating a new piece of décor.

Christmas Trees – Most cities offer several Christmas tree donation locations where old trees are accepted and discarded in an eco-friendly fashion. Alton offers tree recycling at Milton Park on the south end of Aberdeen, Northside Park at 201 Rozier, and James Killion Park at Salu and Washington Ave.  Pine needles can be stripped and used as a naturally scented potpourri or room freshener.  Lastly, when composted, pine needles are rather acidic and restore balance in the compost heap.

“We don’t own this place, though we act as if we did; it’s a loan from the children of our children’s kids,” said Brent Mydland of the Grateful Dead. There is only one Earth; this holiday season, it is important to make sure that all the trappings of Christmas don’t end up trapped in a landfill. Let these simple and creative steps guide but not restrict you. The imagination is very helpful when recycling.

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