7 Effective Ways to Recycle and Upcycle During the Holidays

Don't just toss it in the trash! Here's what to do with those leftover decorations, electronics, and food items.

Three trees are formed from recycled paper.

Now that the holiday season is over, it’s a perfect time to think about the gifts that keep on giving. Here are seven ways to recycle and upcycle:

1. Christmas trees

Ready to take the tree down? Many cities offer curbside tree pickup. Check your city’s website for details on how you can recycle your Christmas tree without even leaving your house. You can also drop your tree off at a local recycling center where it can be used for mulch.

2. Upcycling

Make ornaments or inexpensive holiday decorations for next year from your holiday cards and leftover bobbles. Collect the items in a separate container to bring out next year as a fun family activity during the holidays.

Related: The Lasting Positive Impact of Family Traditions

3. Electronics

Many electronic stores will accept old computers and cell phones for recycling. Be sure to wipe the memory before you donate them.

4. Re-gifting

Now is the time to clean out your closet—or maybe you received a few gifts that were less than desirable. Be sure to consider your local thrift stores as a perfect option for passing on things you don’t use anymore.

5. Food

You’ll most likely have leftovers to last you several days. However, instead of holding on to all of your holiday leftovers, contact your local foodbank to see if you can donate any excess food to people in need.

6. Holiday lights

Many home improvement stores offer drop-off locations for old holiday lights. You may even receive an in-store incentive for considering a more energy-efficient options.

7. Wrapping paper

Save paper to be reused next year, or it can be recycled with other mixed paper.

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