If you’re like me, once you put up all the holiday decorations you can’t even imagine taking them down. How can you even think of recycling Christmas trees and decorations when they make the house look so pretty?
Decorating for the holidays transforms my boring living room into a magazine worthy spread. Well, not quite but it does make my living room much more appealing to look at.
Once we take all the decorations down, yikes! The room is so drab, boring and bare.
What Do I Do With My Christmas Tree
Real Christmas Tree
You’ve got a bunch of options when it comes to real Christmas trees, you just have to decide which one works best for your situation. Once you take all the decorations, lights and tinsel off, you can:
- take it to a drop-off location where it’s typically sent through a chipper and turned into mulch
- cut off the branches and use them as mulch around your yard
- chop it up and turn it into firewood, just make sure you give it enough time to dry out (6+ months)
Head over to Pick Your Own Christmas Tree, choose your state, then click on Where and How to Recycle your Christmas Tree.
If you go the drop-off route, be sure to find out how long the service is offered for. Many times it’s only available for a few weeks after Christmas.
If you have a flocked Christmas tree, it has to go out with the garbage.
Artificial Christmas Tree
Sadly, you don’t have many options when it comes to an artificial Christmas tree. You can check local non-profit organizations in your area to see if they will take it. Many times they can use these trees to decorate senior citizen centers, community centers, etc.
Otherwise, you can use wire cutters to remove the branches and use them for your own decorations throughout the house.
Maybe you’re crafty and can make a wreath or swag.
Can Christmas Lights be Recycled
Yes, yes they can! Christmas lights are made of copper, glass and plastic which can be used again. You just need to find a recycler near you to take them to. Many home improvement stores offer a take back type program around the holidays. Check your local Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ace Hardware to see if they participate.
If you have a MOM’s Organic Market nearby, you can drop them off there for recycling. Sadly, we do not but I am familiar with the store, there’s one where my parents live.
Contact your local recycling facility to find out if they take them. Just hit up Google and type in ‘your city’s name + Christmas light recycling’.
Another option is to mail them off for recycling.
Holiday LEDS has a year-round take back program. Simply pack your lights, ship them off (cheapest way possible, there’s no hurry) and they’ll send you a coupon for 15% off Holiday LEDS L.E.D. Christmas lights.
Christmas Light Source has a year-round take back program as well. Simply pack your lights, ship them off (cheapest way possible, there’s no hurry) and they’ll email you a code for 10% off a single order of Christmas lights. Proceeds from the program go to the Dallas-Fort Worth Toys for Tots program.
In the Atlanta, GA area, we have a non-profit organization called Live Thrive that has a new initiative called CHaRM and takes hazardous, bulky, hard to recycle items and recycles or disposes of them responsibly.
Can Christmas Ornaments be Recycled
The short answer is no. There are just too many variables that make ornaments super hard to recycle. To recycle glass, it really needs to be in the form of a bottle or jar, treated wood isn’t recyclable, fired clay isn’t recyclable, ceramic isn’t recyclable and plastic is super hard unless it’s a #1 or #2 so that pretty much counts out ornaments.
Your best bet is to donate them to a thrift store or give them away.
Can You Recycle Christmas Wrapping Paper
Christmas wrapping paper can be recycled if it’s fairly plain. Glitter, metallic, velvety flocking, all those materials require the paper go to the trash.
You can probably get the adults to carefully open their gifts so the paper doesn’t rip but kids, let them tear into it. They’ve been waiting since December 26th of last year for this day, don’t deprive them of the sheer excitement!
In our house, the kids get a few gifts in paper and anything else in reusable gift bags.
Can Christmas Bows and Ribbon be Recycled
The answer on bows is no, they can’t be recycled BUT they can easily be reused. We used to do this all the time when I was a kid. I’m not entirely sure I ever peeled the paper off a new bow. Every bow got a small piece of tape on it and then slapped on the gift.
If you have young kids, or kids who are young at heart (that includes husbands too), have a paper bag nearby for everyone to throw the bows into. They’ll all be collected and ready to be stored for next year.
Ribbon can be saved and reused but please don’t try to recycle it.
It’ll clog up the intricate parts of the recycling machine (remember the last time you vacuumed the edge of an unfinished carpet and the string got all tangled up?), that’s what’ll happen.
The machine has to be turned off and some poor soul has to go unwind the wound up ribbon. Same thing happens when people put plastic bags or plastic wrap in their recycling. Just don’t do it.
Can Christmas Cards be Recycled
Christmas cards fall into the same category as wrapping paper, the plainer they are, the easier they are to recycle. For those that can’t be recycled, why not reuse them?
Let your crafty side shine through, if you don’t like any of these ideas (I can’t imagine you wouldn’t but hey, everyone’s different), hit up Pinterest for crafting overload. While you’re there, follow me!
Crafting with cards might be a good idea for those snowy winter days the the kids are home from school complaining they are bored.
Hopefully this has given you some ideas on ways to responsibly dispose of or reuse your holiday decorations.
How long do you leave your holiday decorations up?