Eco Friendly Cleaning Post-Holiday

Gifts and wrapping paper beneath Christmas tree.

It's the morning after. Santa has come and gone. And you need a few elves of the cleaning kind!

Formerly festive Christmas wrap is piled high. Bedraggled ribbons bedeck the halls (and everything else).

The fridge is bulging with leftovers. You've got a zillion gifts to exchange. And even the tree is looking a bit tired. It's the most mind-numbing time of the year. 

You need to clean up this mess. You need a walkway through your house. You need to get Christmas behind you, for goodness sake, and get on with life. But before you start dragging cans of rubbish out to the curb, stop and think a bit. 

Give a belated Christmas present to Mother Earth by resolving to add as little as possible to the landfills this season. These eco-friendly cleaning tips can help you reduce waste this Christmas.

Eco Friendly Cleaning Christmas Morning

On Christmas morning, make an eco friendly cleaning sweep through your home with several bags in hand. Fill one with boxes, one with gift wrap, one with ribbons and bows, one with holiday cards.

Then plan to recycle the contents in the following ways:

  • Wrapping paper: First - don't burn it in the fireplace. The inks on some of the wraps cause toxic fumes when burned. Secondly, don't toss it. Much of the gift wrap (at least that on adult gifts) can be folded or rolled and used again next year. Wrap that's torn or crumpled can be saved for children's art projects.
  • Holiday Cards: Leftover Christmas cards can be saved for all sorts of craft projects in 2019. Kids can cut out Santas or reindeer to make their own Christmas cards or gift wrap. You can even cut them up and use them as gift tags for next year.
  • Boxes: Most of these can be folded and kept for future use. The rest can be recycled.
  • Bows and ribbons: Save the presentable bows and ribbons for next year's gifts.
  • Polystyrene "peanuts": Many private mailing stores will take them. Or, save them for your own mailing needs throughout the year ahead.

Also check around your community to see whether any children's centers, teacher cooperatives, or recyclers accept holiday trimmings.

Eco-Friendly Options for Trees and Greenery

Trees take a long time to decompose in landfills. Most communities, however, provide chipping services that will reduce your tree, wreaths and other greenery to very biodegradable mulch.

First, however, you need to un-trim the tree. Remove ornaments and lights and pack them away for next year. Take off the tree stand. Make sure to remove all tinsel.

Flocked tree? Sorry, you're out of luck. These can't be recycled. Wreaths and garlands can only be recycled if you remove all the metal supports.

Eco-Friendly Solutions for Leftovers

This is a good time to start a compost pile. All leftovers (except those containing meat or dairy products) can be composted. If Santa still owes you a present, ask for a composting bin and get started composting at home. That way, you can keep on giving to Mother Earth in the new year.

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