• GreenVoyage


Updated: Jun 29, 2020

The post holiday high is coming soon. This is the time of year after you have eaten all the food possible, spent time with family, and are ready to take away your Christmas decorations and start the new year.

So, what do you do with that tree? What about decorations you don't want? Wrapping paper or left over supplies?


For those of you that chose a real Christmas tree this year, good job! In many farms, for every Christmas tree that is bought, one is planted. Real Christmas trees fill their Christmas wish with you and at the end of the holidays are relatively easy to recycle!

Many municipalities do a curbside tree pick up a few weeks after Christmas along with your recycling. Before setting it out, remember to take all ornaments off - there are other ways you can get rid of these. If you don't take off ornaments it can become a hazard in the recycling facility. Once your tree is recycled it may have gained a new purpose as firewood, or mulch which is added to hiking trails and parks.


If you chose a plastic Christmas tree, this is a little bit more difficult to dispose of as it cannot be recycled. Before trashing it, consider what you will do next year. Would it be possible for you to keep your plastic tree and use it again? Is there anyone you know that may be interested in it? What if you donate it to a thrift store? Another option is to be creative and create holiday decor with the old plastic tree - like wreaths!

When plastic Christmas trees are thrown away they generally end up in a landfill. This is not sustainable or eco-friendly at all. This plastic stays in our earth for centuries to come and is not biodegradable. Also - plastic trees are usually made from petroleum which once taken from our environment cannot be put back in.


If your holiday lights don't work anymore, resist the urge to throw them away! Many cities have recycling programs for these lights. When lights are recycled, the parts are separated and can either be refurbished or used to create new materials.


There are some ornaments which you can recycle - but most you cannot. If you have a paper or wood ornament (without glitter or extra materials) this can be recycled. If it is a glass, clay, metal or any other material (not paper or wood), the ornament cannot be recycled. If the items are in good condition, consider donating them, gifting them, or creating a new art project with any damaged ones.


Before recycling wrapping paper, make sure to take off any tape that might be on it. Wrapping paper that has glitter, ribbons or other materials on it that are not paper, cannot be recycled.


Phew! This time of year is over! It is the best of times and the worst of times. It is family and love but also gifts, consumerism, and major negative impacts to our planet.


This is how many folks get their gifts, or daily needs met. However the packaging that goes along with this is unnecessary and wasteful. Plus when you make a purchase and you send it back, CO2 emissions rise from the transportation needed to return this item.


During the holidays it can be so easy to overcook and lose food would otherwise have been enjoyed. Food wasted, especially from meat and dairy creates an increased carbon footprint that we need to address. It is estimated that the agricultural/ food industry is responsible for 25% of our green house gas emissions, and much of this is wasted on food that is not eaten. As we step away from the holidays, consider ways you can purchase food in more reasonable amounts for you and your family.

Going into 2020, I am thinking about new ways to be sustainable in the coming year. We have a break from the holidays and a fire on our bums to start the year fresh. What are ways you can sustainably finish your year off strong and start it green? Comment below!

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