2004-01-09 / Columnists

On The Bayfront

By Elisa Hinken
On The Bayfront By Elisa Hinken

Sometimes, we need to re-visit old issues to reacquaint ourselves. Such is in this case of recycling. Now that the holidays are over, let’s take a look at these possibilities:

Recycle Christmas Trees. Some communities recycle Christmas trees - chipping and mulching them for compost or landscaping materials. Trees must be free of tinsel, decorations, nails, tacks or any other foreign materials. Check with the local community offices to see if a tree-recycling program exists in your area. Recycle tree trunks for firewood or split for kindling. Use branches as mulch under acid-loving bushes and shrubs, such as rhododendrons or evergreens. Christmas trees are also used on local beaches to create natural dunes over the course of the winter. Call local environmental programs before throwing your trees out. If you can’t find any, drive over to Atlantic Beach and drop the trees off by the boardwalk. They have a recycling program on their beaches.

Compost. Compost your kitchen food scraps from holiday dinners and parties. Remember compost fruit and vegetable wastes only, not meat or grease.

Batteries. Invest in rechargeable batteries.

Donate Old Things to Charity. New gifts will often replace appliances and clothes that still have a useful life. Collect these items and donate them to Goodwill, Salvation Army, local churches, day care centers or charity groups. See if your community has a "bargain barn" or "swap shop."

Recycle Cardboard and Boxes. he holiday season creates a tremendous amount of cardboard waste. Be sure to separate corrugated cardboard, bundle it and put it aside according to recycling rules.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Gift Wrap. Don’t use wrapping paper. Just add bows to holiday shopping bags or gift boxes. Only use the amount of wrap that you need. Loop string around gift boxes, then lay it out on paper to determine how much to cut. Wrap gifts in brown paper bags or newspaper. Use the cartoon section for brighter colors. Wrap gifts in festive holiday fabric, dishtowels or bandannas, which can simply be washed and reused. Give gifts in baskets, tins or jars. Save bows, ribbons and paper to reuse next year. Shred used wrapping paper to use as filler instead of tissue. Buy recycled gift wrap. Write recipient’s name on reusable wooden ornaments and use as a gift tag. If you buy gift wrap, look for recycled paper with the highest post-consumer content you can find. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Greeting Cards. Buy holiday greeting cards (and other cards for that matter) made from recycled paper (don’t forget to look for the highest post-consumer content you can find) or make your own. Use postcards to eliminate envelopes and excess paper. Clip holiday cards to make gift tags for next year. Jot down your favorite recipe on the back to include with a hostess gift. Send used cards to: St. Jude’s Ranch for Children P.O. Box 1426 - AL
Boulder City, NV 89005-1426.

Reuse Holiday Decorations. Save your holiday decorations for reuse next year. Donate decorations to local schools, churches, town offices or non-profit organizations. Use natural ornaments such as pine cones, shells, dried flowers or berries.

Tips for Mail Order Shopping. Ask mail-order companies who ship your gifts and items not to use polystyrene packing "peanuts," but to use paper instead. Save bubblewrap or peanuts for reuse. Recycle those peanuts at businesses like Mail Boxes Etc. After you have completed your mail shopping, remove your name from catalogue mailing lists by writing to:
Direct Marketing Association P.O. Box 9008 Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008.

Tips for Gift-Giving. Be prudent and practical as well as thoughtful and creative. Purchase gifts that are long-lasting or that can be reused and later recycled. If an item has several layers of paper and plastic packaging, choose a similar product that leaves less waste. Purchase items made of natural materials like wood rather than plastic. Better yet, choose items made from recycled materials. Second-hand or antique shops are great places to do shopping. Consider giving gift certificates or tickets for services or special events, rather than purchasing an item that may not be used or needed.

Tips for Parties. Use cloth napkins, silverware, glass drinking cups and ceramic coffee mugs and reusable plates rather than disposable plastic, styrofoam or paper at parties. Rent party furnishings rather than buying things you will only use once a year. Reuse plastic margarine tubs or yogurt containers to store leftovers.

If we all practice some sort of recycling measure, we can all benefit in the long run.

So will our environment.

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