Ah, the twinkling lights of the menorahs, kinaras and Christmas trees, the nostalgic smells of fresh-cut pine, fragrant mazao and frying latkes, the traditional sounds of carols, Hanukah blessings and Kwanzaa drumming - what could possibly spoil the holiday spirit?
How about mountains of balled up wrapping paper, crushed boxes and cut ribbons, higher energy bills from all those festive lights, plus the potential hazards of old and unsafe decorations and the negative impact on the environment from all of the festivities.
Patch is here to help with this handy guide to greening up the holidays!
Since Christmas falls on a Tuesday, trash and recycling pick-up days are on a holiday schedule this year:
Montgomery County – No pick up on Christmas day, and collection will occur one day later than your normal pick up for the rest of the week – if your pick-up is usually Wednesday, wait until Thursday to put your trash out. If it is Thursday, wait until Friday, etc.
Prince George’s County – If your regularly scheduled trash collection day was Tuesday, you’ll need to wait until your next scheduled day. No other days are affected by the Christmas holiday.
Natural – Montgomery County will pick up your tree on your regular recycling day between Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, and Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, provided that you have removed all decorations, taken it off the stand and placed it curbside (but not in a plastic bag). The county recycles trees into mulch, so don’t forget to visit one of the county’s Neighborhood Mulch Preserve locations
Artificial – Call 311 to schedule a bulk trash pick-up.
Prince George’s County – Christmas Trees will be accepted as a normal part of the yard waste collection program on your regularly scheduled trash pick-up day.
If you can remove all wire, plastic clips, decorative items, etc. from your wreath or roping, you can place them in a yard trim bin, or tie them with twine and leave curbside for regular pick up.
Try switching to LED lights this year. According to Discovery News, these environmentally friendly bulbs are longer-lasting, more durable than the traditional style, don’t get hot, do not contain mercury and use less energy.
To recycle your old lights:
Montgomery County - While curbside pick-up is not available, there are a handful of Home Depot’s and MOM’s market locations that will accept your old string lights.
Prince George’s County – Old Christmas lights can be brought to The Brown Station Road Sanitary Landfill, located at 11611 White House Road, Upper Marlboro, MD
Quite a bit of wrapping paper can be recycled with your normal paper recycling – no foil or plastic film though.
One great tip is to replacing the old newspaper that you had been wrapping your ornaments and decorations in with the foil wrapping paper, then recycle the old newspapers!
Take the extra time to remove plastic “windows” and be sure to flatten all of your boxes (if you don’t, you are just advertising all of your new goodies to potential thieves who may be on the lookout after the holidays!)
Paper cards without foil or plastic inserts or windows can be recycled. Photo cards, however, cannot and should be treated as trash.
Unwanted Toys/Electronics/Household Items
Too many toys and items in your house? If your old things are in usable condition, donate or pass them on. You can use it as a great learning opportunity for your kids, by seeing if (INSERT YOUR LOCAL CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION HERE) will accept your donations. You can also try websites like Craigslist or Freecycle which help givers and receivers to find one another.