Resolve to have a more sustainable New Year

Twenty-seventeen is upon us. A year that sounds lucky, but is destined to be fraught with environmental challenges under a Trump administration. All the more reason for individuals to do their part for the planet. Thanks to Recyclebank, Connecticut Green Living has some white-hot tips for you eco-conscious, planet loving humans:
1. Be wise when getting rid of your Christmas tree.
********If your plastic tree is beyond being “spruced” up, it unfortunately cannot be recycled, says Recyclebank. But, if your old plastic tree is still in good shape, consider donating it to a local homeless shelter or other community organization. For real trees, many cities have drop-off locations and/or curbside pickup programs, and they’ll “recycle” them for you by turning them into mulch, and other purposes.
2. Find a new use for old or broken ornaments.
Amidst overexcited children, unstable branches, and worn out ornament boxes, there are myriad ways for ornaments to crack and crumble (like their owners!) under holiday stress. Glass ornaments are the most prone to this, and unfortunately, they aren't recyclable. So when it all comes crashing down, get out your DIY upcycling gear and create a new ornament from the debris (literally). If any ornaments survive a bit longer than you’d want, consider donating them.
3. Recycle holiday lights.
From Christmas’ red and green to Hanukkah’s blue and white, don’t just trash your lights when they stop twinkling. When one broken light spoils the string, there are companies like that offer special mail-in recycling programs.
4. Shop sustainably.
You can cut down on the waste generated from the physical gifts you buy. When you’re out shopping, be sure to bring your own reusable bags to carry your presents home. If you forget a bag, don’t fret! Just be sure to reuse or recycle that plastic or paper bag as much as possible — with a little upcycling it could even double as a giftwrap option. This blogger likes to find branches and small red buds on the plants that sprout around Milford. Affix with twine you've saved from your UPS deliveries or upscale giftshops.
5. Pare down the packaging.
If you do most of your shopping online, try your best to order from a single place and all at one time to avoid unnecessary extra cardboard boxes and plastic bags/fillers. And remember, many packaging materials, such as cardboard boxes, can be recycled or reused.
6. Don’t trash that candle wax.
You're bound to have burned through a bunch of candles during the holidays. Whether you’ve lit candles on a holiday dinner table, decorated your window sills with candles, or celebrated a more secular holiday (tradition states that Hanukkah candle wax should not be repurposed), there are tons of ways to reuse the melted, leftover wax. You can use it to create a DIY fire starter, to melt into new candles, or to help fix sticky zippers, touts Recyclebank.
Have recycling/reusing ideas of your own? Do share in the comments section. And remember, this New Year's Eve, don't be afraid to wear last year's little black dress!
ARTWORK: By Albert Chevallier Tayler, oil on canvas, Public Domain/Wikipedia Commons


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