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A Giving Time of Year…

As we give to one another this time of year, remember to give back to Mother Earth. The days after major holidays are often major hauling days for garbage collection companies. Just picture that monstrous pile of wadded wrapping paper under the tree after Christmas -- not to mention the tree itself -- and you'll know what we're talking about. It is estimated that between Thanksgiving and the New Year an extra million tons of waste are generated nationwide each week. In fact 38,000 miles of ribbon alone are thrown out each year - enough to tie a bow around the Earth.

The holidays are a hectic time of year and recycling or waste reduction may not enter our thoughts, but small, simple efforts will save valuable resources from being thrown away.

Click below for information on:

Tree RecyclingHoliday Tree

Even after they have served their purpose as a holiday decoration, trees can keep providing a benefit by becoming mulch or material for compost, which will help soil grow more plants.

Pittsburg Disposal will collect and recycle your tree for free!

Simply remove all lights and tinsel and place your tree at the curb on your regular collection day. If your tree is over 5 feet tall, simply cut your tree in half and place it on the curb. Flocked trees are not recyclable, but Pittsburg Disposal will be happy to collect them for you.

Click here to visit Pittsburg Disposal's website.

You may be happy to know that your tree's useful life doesn't need to come to an end once the ornaments are carefully packed away. Every year, more than 40,000 tons of holiday trees require handling at the end of the season in California. Most communities throughout the state are beginning to recognize that the final resting place for cut trees isn't in landfills.

The potential market for your fading tree may seem slim, but secondary uses are plentiful. After chipping and shredding, the trees can be used as: (1) mulch for water conservation and weed control; (2) erosion and/or dust control on hiking trails and bridle paths; (3) additives in composting operations; or (4) alternative fuel in special power generation facilities called "biomass" co-generation facilities. Some communities have even used whole trees in wildlife habitat restoration projects by piling them around watering holes to provide shelter for birds, or by sinking them into lakes as a haven for small fish. Local public works programs, such as park maintenance and public building landscaping, may also be able to utilize the trees as a resource.

Holiday Cards

Cards can be creatively reused by cutting off the cover and giving them a second life. Take or send them to one of these centers.

East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse SCRAP    Pennsylvania Resources Council
4695 Telegraph Ave @ 47th Street
Oakland, CA 94608
(510) 547-6470
834 Toland
San Francisco, CA 94124
(415) 647-1746
3606 Providence Road
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 353-1555


Gift Wrapping
Gift Giving and Wrapping

Holidays often mean exchanging a lot of gifts. Consider minimizing the waste that you give with the gifts, by thinking about what you buy and how you wrap it.

Click here for tips on how to stop giving waste.

Other Tips

  • If you send holiday cards, buy recycled-content cards and envelopes. Or make your own cards out of last year's cards and the wrapping paper you saved. Make gift tags from last year's holiday cards.
  • Shipping a gift? Reuse the foam peanuts from another package, or use unbuttered popcorn for packing.
  • When unwrapping those gifts this year, save the ribbons, bows, and other packaging to be used throughout the new year.
  • And don't forget to look for toys, books, and other products that are reused, or made from recycled materials.


Last updated: 3/7/2014 9:52:30 AM