Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cleaning Up Christmas

I hope you had a lovely Christmas in your house with family, good friends, good food and lots of wonderful, Christmas surprises. As you let the warm, fuzzy feelings of Christmas simmer, the state of the house brings you back to reality a bit. In most homes, the day after Christmas is a day of cleaning. The trash bags are stuffed to bursting. They're filled with wrapping paper, cardboard boxes and discarded batteries. What do you do with all this post-holiday mess? Think about recycling!

What can you recycle?

Wrapping Paper

According to the Recycle Now website from the UK, wrapping paper can be recycled. They recommend you check with your municipality first to be sure you can leave wrapping paper out with other recyclables. No matter where you live, I think this is sound advice. It's safe to assume that most paper products, including wrapping paper, can be recycled. I know my husband and I have put our holiday wrapping paper in the paper recycling bin at the transfer station for several years. This year will be no different. I actually stopped relatives from picking up the trash after we opened gifts so I could sort the paper from everything else as I cleaned. It's much easier to sort as you go rather than having to dump bags of trash and pick out all the recyclable paper.


There are two types of cardboard that you typically see at Christmastime. Boxes made of corrugated cardboard are used to send packages through the mail and are sometimes the packaging for toys and electronics. The thinner, cereal-box type cardboard is commonly seen as packaging for toys and games. Both of these types of cardboard can be recycled. However, they do need to be sorted. Check with your municipality to see how they prefer cardboard be sorted. Here, we can include the thin cardboard with paper products. However, we have to separate the corrugated cardboard, which has it's own recycling bin at the transfer station. Be sure to remove all plastic from any recyclable cardboard.

Batteries Photo courtesy of Alvimann at Morguefile.

Hopefully, your children's new toys won't chew through their batteries quickly, but when they do, battery disposal becomes an issue. Batteries are a sore spot with my husband. Our transfer station used to collect used batteries for recycling. But, they stopped doing that a year or two ago. He will not throw them away. It really bothers him because he knows how bad it is for the environment to toss used batteries out with the trash. We've had no good solution until this year when he bought a battery charger that will charge ordinary alkaline batteries. We've also invested in a set of high quality, Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable batteries with a charger. If you think about it, rechargeable batteries are less expensive in the long run than regular batteries. Have you seen the price of ordinary batteries lately? Yikes.

The Christmas Tree

Many towns will pick up Christmas trees for recycling. Call your town transfer station or town office and ask if they offer a free Christmas tree pick up day. Then, be sure to have your tree out by your curb on the appointed day.

For more Christmas clean-up tips, check out After Christmas Green Cleaning from the Yahoo Contributor Network.


  1. This has been an excellent series from start to finish. Hope you will keep posting through December. Your ideas are splendid.

  2. Thanks Carol! I'm going to be having a give away some time in the next week to celebrate the 2 year anniversary of the blog. Be sure to enter!

  3. Wrapping Paper - here it is recycleable unless it is glittery, in which case it is no longer traditionally recycleable (can be used in papermaking)....
    Batteries are recycleable at my co-op but no other place that I know of. I am working my way toward only rechargeable batteries. We don't have much left that takes batteries (electronics that it is not recommended we use rechargeables with.... such as the Wii).
    One gift this year was a rechargeable unit for GreenGirl's Didj otherwise no gift this year needed batteries.
    Also most plastic packaging is recycleable. If you can't find a # on it, send it to Preserve which recycles the plastics most municipalities don't take.

  4. Tree Huggin Momma - What is Preserve? I've never heard of it. Sounds like it'd be handy for those odd plastics that can't be recycled locally!

  5. Do you just put names in the hat? Great idea! I will do that for two of my blogs also. I will give away my book!