Is one of your new year’s resolutions to live more sustainably? A good way to start is by recycling holiday décor that you do not plan to use next year. Christmas trees, holiday lights, and other décor of the season - and even holiday cards you’ve received from friends and family - can all avoid ending up in the landfill with just a little preparation and effort.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
--Christmas tree recycling: Fortunately for Clearwater residents, recycling your live Christmas tree is as easy as placing it curbside with yard waste on your regular pick-up day. Your tree will be recycled into mulch, which in turn is made available to the public free of charge. Please be sure to remove all decorations from your tree, including ornament hooks and tinsel. Do not place the tree in a bag or garbage bin; simply set it out on your curb. Apartment and condo residents can place their trees beside their dumpsters. For questions about Clearwater’s curbside pick-up program, call 727-562-4920. Check here for information about Pinellas County’s free mulch program, including pick-up sites.
--Holiday lights recycling: Have you replaced old strings of incandescent lights with more energy-efficient LED lights? Be sure to recycle your old lights, too. Some of the major hardware stores often offer light recycling programs during the holiday season; contact your local store for information. You can also donate or give away your old lights through a variety of programs, described below. Check here for more information about recycling holiday lights.
--Holiday decorations recycling: Donate holiday decorations of all kinds to local charitable thrift stores, or give them away to family, friends, or through www.freecycle.org and www.tampa.craigslist.org.
--Greeting card recycling: One really neat way to recycle holiday greeting cards—as well as greeting cards for birthdays and other occasions—is to donate old cards to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, a charitable organization that serves the needs of abused, neglected, and abandoned children. Children who participate in the program recycle the cards into new greeting cards, which are then packaged and sold to the public. The kids receive payment for their work, the cards are repurposed, and the organization raises funds to support their programs.