Many of you have probably heard of the three R's of recycling: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Well we are going to add a fourth - Repurpose! Let's look at a few ways that we can abide by these 4R's this Holiday season.
Reduce: If you are hosting a meal or party over the Holidays, consider using reusable tableware and cups to reduce the amount waste entering the landfill. Also, as an alternative to a physical gift, consider gifting someone an experience like a dinner outing, class/workshop, or a show!
Reuse: One of the easiest things you can do to reuse during the Holidays is to save your gift bags, boxes, and bows to use again next year. As you likely know, these items can get expensive and if kept in good condition, can be used year after year!
Recycle: With gift-giving comes a lot of waste like wrapping paper, Styrofoam, cardboard, and tissue paper. Knowing what can and cannot be recycled as well as where to recycle certain items properly is key! Luckily for us in Lucas County, we have many great resources available to help us recycle right.
Repurpose: Many materials used during the Holidays can be repurposed and given a second life! For example, you can take your flattened cardboard boxes (with all tape removed) and lay them down in an area of your yard where you plan to put in a new garden. Cover the boxes with mulch or organic material and leave over winter. The cardboard will kill any grass or weeds underneath without the use of chemicals, and as it breaks down, you will have a new area to plant in the spring.
You can also repurpose food scraps in your compost pile. If you don't have a compost pile and if you live in the City of Toledo, you can now drop off food scraps to three area locations through the new Food Waste Drop-off Program.
If you decorated a live Christmas tree, you can repurpose this tree in several ways rather than sending it to the landfill. Once all the decorations and lights are removed, you can leave it out in the yard for birds and other wildlife to use as shelter during the cold winter months. If you have a pond, you can simply toss your tree in along the edge and it will add beneficial habitat for fish. City of Toledo is also offering their Christmas Tree Recycling Program again December 27-January 31 at various parks where the trees will eventually be ground into mulch. Learn more.
Hopefully you found this helpful to you this Holiday season! If you do one, two, or all of these ideas, know that you are making a positive difference and doing your part to help the Earth.
Lucas SWCD staff