8 THINGS you should do after the holidays!

Finally… we’ve stopping scurrying around in preparation for the holidays, but now we’re all liking looking around and seeing plenty yet to be done in the wake of a hectic season.

The tree, the lights, the presents, the boxes, the bags and bows, the piles of Christmas cards!… WHAT to do now? Well, let me help…

Here is a very simple list of things you can do to curb the waste, make the most of the season and keep it green!:

  • The Christmas tree – if you had a live-cut Christmas tree, check out Earth911 to find a drop-off so it can be turned into mulch or composted (if your community doesn’t offer the service).  If you have a wooded area near your house, give it back to nature for a wonderful winter habitat for animals.  If your tree is artificial and you’ve considered a replacement, donate your old tree.  Many organizations and needy families would love them for next year.
  • Packaging and boxes – everything from gift packaging to the shipping boxes the gifts arrived in… either recycle them (if they aren’t usable again) or save them (along with the reusable packing materials) for when you need to ship something.  If you have more than you can handle, list and sell them through Box Cycle.
  • Gift bags, ribbons, bows and tissue – simply fold, flatten and store them.  They can all likely be used again (and again!).
  • Lights – if you have strands that have permanently gone out, take advantage of clearance sales and stock up on new LEDs for next year’s energy-efficient decorating.  You can also check out HolidayLEDs.com… they’ll accept old incandescents and give you a 25% discount on a new LED purchase.
  • Clear it out! – make way for new gifts by cleaning out what is no longer needed and donate them to charity.  Clothes, toys, books, household items… everything is useful for someone, or an entire family, in need!
  • E-cycle electronics – if you got something new, take your old electronics to your local Best Buy so they can be properly e-cycled, repaired or repurposed (or donate them, if they still work!).
  • Christmas cards – save them and cut them up to become gift tags for next year.
  • Christmas cards alternative – ever heard of St. Jude’s Ranch for Children?  Well, they’d love to receive your Christmas cards!  This non-profit organization cares for abused, abandoned and/or neglected children.  They accept used greeting cards (including Christmas, birthday and even “Thank You” cards), the children remove the fronts and attach them to a recycled paper backing.  They turn them into new greeting cards… and then sell them!  Bundle them up and mail them to:

St. Jude’s Ranch for Children
Card Recycling Program
100 St. Jude’s Street
Boulder City, NV 89005

As you get your post-holiday life back in order there is some work to be done but, rest assured, there are plenty of wise, green choices that can be made as we bid the year farewell…

(Tree photo: Christmas Lights Etc.)

 

 

Celebrate “America Recycles Day” – November 15!

America Recycles DayNovember 15 is “America Recycles Day”… a day that “encourages more people to join the movement toward creating a better natural environment by recycling and buying recycled products” and “promotes the social, environmental and economic benefits of recycling.”

Are you planning to celebrate?!?!

Once again this year, we’re promoting this great day at my children’s school by encouraging the kids to submit their best recycling tips and the favorite ways their families recycle. We’ll compile all of their great ideas and turn them into a recycling newsletter that will be sent home to each family.  Some will even win cool prizes, like recycled drink pouch pencil bags and recycled newspaper pencils from Terracycle, reusable (yet recyclable!) BPA-free water bottles and 100% recycled content “green” notebooks!  I don’t doubt that the response will be amazing… kids always have the best idearecycl itemss!

So, as we celebrate the day, let’s remember WHY we recycle:
•    to reduce pollution
•    to save energy
•    to help the environment
•    to save natural resources
•    to keep trash out of landfills

And here are some things to think about …

  1. PLASTIC– it can take 20 years for a plastic bag to biodegrade and 250 years for a plastic cup!  Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour(!) but if every household recycled just one of every 10 plastic bottles, it would keep 200 million pounds of plastic out of landfills each year!
  2. PAPER – it accounts for nearly HALF of what is sent to landfills and approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S.!  Plus, recycling one ton of paper would save enough energy to power an average American home for five months!
  3. ALUMINUM – an aluminum can is recycled and back on a store shelf in approximately 60 days, and just one recycled aluminum can saves enough energy to run a computer for 3 hours.  Last year cans that were NOT recycled and went to landfills were valued at $600 million!
  4. GLASS – a bottle in a landfill would take more than 4000 years to decompose, but glass never “wears out” and can be recycled forever! The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can power a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) for 20 hours.

ARD 2011Now is the time… TODAY is the day… let’s get to recycling!  As you can see, clearly it makes a world of difference!

It takes only one stop to (r)e-cycle your e-waste!

ecycleWhile I’m on the topic of electronics, I must mention my trip to Best Buy this weekend and a fantastic service that I discovered.

I need to preface this with pointing out that electronics, unfortunately, create an amazing amount of e-waste when they have run their course of usefulness or get replaced.  Our TV has seen better days, and that was the reason for the trip.  Our “outgoing” TV is 17 years old and has reached the point where words on the TV were difficult to read and scrolling type is nearly impossible.

That TV will still be donated to a local charity that assists recovering addicts in setting up a home and, although it’s feasible for us tBB ecycleo replace it, I know someone in need of assistance will appreciate our donation when they have “nothing”.  On top of that, our donation keeps it from needlessly being tossed away… it DOES work, afterall.

Okay, back to my original story… Best BuyMy discovery? They have these new FANTASTIC kiosks just inside the entry to their stores that allow us to drop-off all of our e-waste for recycling, repair or repurposing.  I’m talking everything… cellphones & chargers, CDs & DVDs, game controllers and components, remotes, printer cartridges, power cords, and even ‘empty’ gift cards!  I… LOVE… IT!!!

These kiosks are available in EVERY store around the country, and there happen to be about 1100 of them!  Find your store here.

BB kiosk 2While I believe that an electronic or ‘gadget’ still in working condition should be donated, this is the best source I’ve seen so far for a central drop-off location when they’ve run their course.  Check out their site for more details and to learn about their program for the “big” electronics too.

In the meanwhile, sort through your house, fill a box of e-waste and know that you’ve FINALLY found a place for them!