I love Christmas. The beautiful holiday decorations, the incredible food, the time spent and memories made with family and friends. This really is the most wonderful time of the year for me. What I don't like is the waste. With all of the boxes, paper and packages, it can be a challenge to keep trash cans and recycling bins from overflowing. But holiday celebrating doesn't have to be a burden on landfills and recycling centers. With a little fore thought, just about everything can be reused and recycled. Here are some of the ways I keep my Christmas "almost zero waste".
After the Christmas presents are opened and the gifts are put away I separate the gift wrapping into 6 piles:
Gift wrap, gift bags, ribbons, boxes, "crinkled" tissue paper and "uncrinkled" tissue paper.
Folded gift bags slide them under the couch for reuse next year.
Tissue paper is reused for holiday/birthday gift giving and craft projects.
"Crinkled" tissue paper protects fragile holiday decorations.
Large sheets of wrapping paper can be folded and reused next year. Reuse torn or crumpled pieces of wrapping paper to fill in extra space when storing your holiday decorations.
Store ribbon and reuse for craft projects and gift giving.
Cardboard can also be composted or used at the bottom of raised beds
A compost bin and box make a great seed starting tray.
The heat from the bin warms the soil
and gets my seeds growing quickly
Next Christmas, when I bring out my holiday decorations, I reuse the boxes and wrapping paper to ship Christmas gifts. Using Christmas wrapping paper gives me one more reuse of the paper, adds a festive touch to the boxes, and eliminates the use of those pesky Styrofoam peanuts that everyone hates.
For smaller gifts and boxes, and for craft projects I shred the wrapping paper.
No need to waste a good Christmas tree. When the holidays are over we drag it out (stand and all) and turn it in to a bird feeder. These are great crafts to do with the kids and grandkids.
In early spring I thin out the branches, shredding them to use as a mulch around acid loving plants.
In the summer I placed the thinned out trunk in one of the raised beds and used it as a green bean trellis.
In the fall we cut it up our tree, mulching and composting the small branches. The trunk was cut into logs and left in the wood pile to dry. Next winter it will warm us when burned in our fireplace. The ashes from the wood will be placed in the compost bin.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to Everyone.