The green holiday aftermath

If you’ve looked for suggestions on greening your holiday celebrations, you’ve likely had no trouble finding information on gifts, food, wine… many ideas out there for lowering your impact while still having a great time.

The day after the celebration, though, you’re probably tired, maybe a little (or a lot) hung over, and perhaps cranky… and simply tossing the detritus of the holidays may seem like a really good idea. Nurse the hangover, give yourself some time to wake up, and then put some of these ideas into practice for disposing of the wreckage without undermining all of those earlier green efforts:

  • Recycle… or reuse: The recycling bin is certainly preferable to the trash can, but reuse is even better. Got a load of wine bottles? Turns out they can make lovely wall-mounted vases. Piles of wrapping paper? It’s generally not recyclable, but even the smallest pieces have potential for reuse. Live Christmas tree? Check for a drop-off center that will give it new life as mulch or fish shelter.

  • All that food: Food leftovers are almost inevitable. If it’s already been on the table, compost what you can (pretty much anything except meat… and even that’s compostable with a bokashi system). If it’s unopened, a local food pantry or soup kitchen will gladly take it off of your hands.

  • Plates, utensils, napkins: If you chose disposables, you can probably dispose of them more responsibly. Paper plates and napkins are probably compostable. Plastic utensils may not be recyclable (check the type of plastic), so wash ‘em… and reuse ‘em.

  • Clean green: No need to start the new year off with toxins: make your own green cleaning supplies, or purchase green alternatives from companies like Seventh Generation, Method, Bio-Kleen, etc. If you’re using paper towels, choose those with high post-consumer recycled content… or ditch them completely for reusable rags.

  • And next year… remember preparation is key for keeping the environmental impact of the holidays down. Maybe a New Year’s resolution?

And if the hangover’s still an issue, you can even take more natural approaches to dealing with it…

Other suggestions for a greener holiday clean-up? Share them…

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