Now’s the time to think ahead to the day after Christmas — and all the stuff you may want or need to throw away. Instead of trashing it, here’s a list of what you should easily be able to recycle to avoid Christmas clutter:
1) Wrapping paper and ribbon (keep a paper bag or box handy when you’re unwrapping presents to make the job easy and efficient) – Shred paper to use as packing material, put aside for your kids’ art projects, or recycle with the weekly newspapers and junk mail.
2) Cardboard and paper boxes – Line smaller boxes with soft towels to create a new bed for a cat or small dog; flatten any boxes you don’t need for easier recycling.
3) Cell phones – Take to Best Buy, Staples, or Office Depot, or send to Collective Good, which will refurbish them, re-sell them, and share the profits with the charity of your choice.
4) Computers, laptops, notebooks, monitors, keyboards – Any of the office supply stores should accept them at no cost to you.
5) Cameras – (same)
6) Fax machines (same)
7) Clothing – Most shelters will take t-shirts, pants, long-sleeved shirts, jackets, underwear and socks. Donate fancier clothes to the local theater company or school drama department to use as costumes.
9) Beverage cans, bottles and jugs – Glass, aluminum, and plastic beer, soda, juice and bottled water containers can all be recycled.
10) Plastic food containers – Many community recycling programs now accept plastic food trays and cartons, along with containers from yogurt, sour cream, dips, and spreads.
11) Toys – Clean, working toys your kids have outgrown can be passed along to the children of neighbors, family, friends, day care centers, and shelters that help house children.
12) Christmas tree – if your community doesn’t pick up used trees, recycle this yourself: cut the boughs off to create mulch, and use the needles to make potpourri.
13) Televisions and Major appliances – If you got a new appliance, ask your installer to recycle the one he removes. Or check these links to get specific guidance on recycling your tv.
14) Christmas cards – Cut off the part containing the signature (usually the back page), and use the front, decorated page as a Christmas gift tag for next year.
15) Food – Combine leftovers into stews and soups, or freeze in lunch-size portions to take to work or send to school with the kids; simmer meat and turkey bones until they make a rich broth that can be used for gravies and stock; freeze cookies, breads, and dessert bars to use over the next three months.