Recycle your Christmas tree

Sophia Nicholas tells us how we can go green this holiday season.

Recycling and other Sustainability Tips for the Holiday Season

  • Lots of packages right now-- Remember to recycle all of your cardboard boxes and break them down to fit in your recycling bins. Be sure to remove non-cardboard material from boxes and place in the blue bin separately if recyclable or dispose of in the landfill bin.
  • Plastic bags—whether from shipping or from the grocery store—can’t be recycled with all of our other recyclables.  Don’t put plastic film in the blue bin. You can take it back to many grocery stores. (see www.plasticfilmrecycling.org for a directory and more info)
  • Trees:

o   It’s always a good option to get a live tree that can be planted in the spring.

o   Artificial trees that you use for years are also a good option.

o   If you do get a cut tree, make sure to dispose of it properly after the season is over:

o   Christmas trees are compostable!  As long as they aren’t flocked don’t contain artificial decorations, you can dispose of them in your brown compost bin

o   To do that, please cut your tree into a few pieces. No longer than 4’ so it fits in the bin—if you cram your tree in the bin it will be very difficult for our operators to empty into the truck.

o   You can also place your tree on the curb and it will be collected by the end of January (Note that Salt Lake City will be instituting a brief compost bin suspension from the end of January through the end of February, to help with air quality in a period of low demand)

o   If you’re not in Salt Lake City, check with your city to see if your waste hauler collects at the curb, if there is a central drop off location or where the closest compost facility is located.

  • Wrapping paper and gift bags that are not metallic or waxy can be recycled. Tissue paper is not readily recyclable

The best options are to choose wrapping options that can be reused—many gift bags are!  You can also use cloth “wrapping paper” or be creative with items in your home—old maps, calendars, magazines, or basic brown craft paper decorated with stamps or pens or items from nature—make beautiful, easy, and sustainable wrapping options.

  • Christmas lights that don’t work any more—remember not to throw them in the garbage!  These items can be taken to the Salt Lake Valley landfill to be processed properly as electronic waste.  This is important to keep heavy metals and other toxins from electronics out of our landfill. Do not place in the blue bin as lights will wrap around and damage the equipment.
  • Another important reminder—burning Christmas trees or having any fire at this time of year—even though festive—is bad for our air quality.  During inversions like were’ having now, it’s actually against state regulation and Salt Lake Health Dept code to burn wood. So check air.utah.gov to see whether you’re in the clear to burn.
  • Finally—choose to use washable, durable plates, cups, flatware.  Using disposables is convenient, but creates that much more trash, at this time of year. Buying some extras from a second hand store and washing them—is a good way to go.