great eco-friendly ideas for holiday waste

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as we conclude the holidays, you may be looking around your home wondering what you’re going to do with all of that torn up wrapping paper, the thoughtful holiday cards, the leftover food in the fridge… and where are you going to take your tree??

the answer definitely is not: just throw it in the trash.

according to the environmental protection agency, between thanksgiving and new year’s day, americans contribute an additional 1 million tons of waste a week to our landfills. it sounds like a lot, because it is. by upcycling (and recycling) as many of these materials as you can, you can help reduce that number, plus have something cute and ‘new’ to show off in your home! we have a few ideas you can try at home, and some things to consider for the the holiday season next year.

wrapping paper

if you’re needing to send out “thank you” notes for all of the gifts you received this year, don’t buy an envelope, create one! pick out the prettiest patterned wrapping paper and follow these steps to create your own individualized form of stationary.

need to pack away your christmas tree ornaments or other decorations? simple! use that wrapping paper to keep those items safe while in storage. you can also apply this to any type of storage, especially if you’re maybe moving anytime soon.

if you’re in party mode bringing in the new year and need some extra confetti for you and your friends to throw at midnight, look no further than the pile of wrapping paper you have at home. just run it through a paper shredder! sure, you may make a bit of a mess, but it’ll definitely be festive!

boxes, boxes and more boxes

are you an Amazon addict like we are? if so, you can take every one of those boxes, pack them full of clothes, toys and other household items you no longer want, and Amazon will ship them to Goodwill using givebackbox.com. donations go directly to your nearest participating Goodwill organization using a free shipping label and the empty Amazon (or other) box.

holiday cards

there are a few fun things you can do with your favorite holiday cards this year, giving you the chance to continue spreading the joy of them.

you can prepare for the holiday season next year by creating gift card tags using your old greeting card. simply cut the back off and punch a hole in the top so you can string a ribbon through. you can get more creative by cutting fun shapes, plus, this is a great activity for your kids to do!

you can also take those same backs of the cards to instead create your own postcards to send out. Just write your message on the back and address it to the loved one you want to spread some holiday cheer to (don’t forget the stamp!)

another option you have is to donate them. that’s right, you can donate your old holiday cards! st. jude’s ranch accepts them and repurposes them as part of their recycled card program. they then resell them and help fund their programs, helping families in need.

leftovers in the fridge

Your dogs will love this one. Instead of throwing out all of the leftovers from your holiday celebration, treat your pup to a tasty holiday treat! There are tons of recipes you can try, depending on what you have in your fridge; we found some awesome recipes you can take inspiration from right here.

what to do with your tree

it’s not as simple as just throwing it in the dumpster, which is something you shouldn’t do anyway. you can either recycle your tree or get a little creative with it while it’s still alive.

if you’re already looking forward to spring, you can chip up the trunk and branches to create mulch for your garden. You can still do this for your trees and shrubs as a temporary winter mulch.

you can create decorations or other items around your home using the tree as well. cut off branches to create a new wreath, or cut and treat discs from the tree trunk to make your own coasters.

if you prefer to dispose of it completely, be sure to check with your local recycling center for free drop-off locations. these places will often chip and shred your tree for use as mulch or as part of soil erosion programs. you can also arrange for pick up in front of your home if you don’t have the time to take it yourself.

there are countless ways to reduce the waste around the holiday season. get creative with it, do a little research and get even more inspiration on how you can become a little more eco-friendly as you celebrate the holidays every year!