As the holiday season comes to a close and we look toward the new year, there’s often a lot of clean up to do. The Christmas tree has to go, and there’s wrapping paper to be thrown out. At GRB we’re not just passionate about hemp- we’re passionate about being good stewards of the land. So we’re offering some practical tips to keep your post-holiday clean up sustainable. 

What to do with the Christmas Tree:

If you have a Christmas tree, you’ll be dealing with the process of disposing of it soon. Here are a few safe and sustainable ways to get rid of it:

  1. Recycle it. Christmas trees are. . . well, they’re trees, so they’re naturally biodegradable. In some areas, curbside pickup will take trees away for recycling and turn it into mulch. Some centers even allow you to pick up the mulch if you want it for your garden. Check with your local recycling center or sanitation department for pick up options and size restrictions. If your community does not pick up trees, check for a recycling center in your area.
  1. Use it for firewood. Christmas trees make excellent firewood if you have a fire pit or burn pile in your yard. But DO NOT burn one in your fireplace. A hazardous chemical called creosote in the trees can build up and cause fires to burn extremely hot, sending off sparks that can be fire hazards.
  1. Use it in your garden. As we mentioned, your tree can be turned into mulch. But you don’t have to send it to a recycling center if you have a little time to do it yourself. Simply remove and chip the small branches with the most appropriate tool you happen to have on hand, and spread the bits throughout your yard. The needles will even help your soil retain moisture. If you compost, a thin layer of branches can be used as the base for a new compost pile. The trunk of a Christmas tree makes excellent pathway edging: chop the trunk into 2-inch discs and use them to line your flower beds and walkways. If you have perennials that need a little protection from frost, you can lay some branches beneath plants to help moderate temperature changes. As a bonus, using parts of your tree in the garden makes it smell like Christmas a little longer!

Is wrapping paper recyclable?

Earth911 estimates that approximately 4.6 million lbs. of wrapping paper is produced in the U.S. each year, and that about 2.3 million pounds ends its life in landfills. So we should recycle it all, right? Not necessarily. 

If you have shiny, laminated paper, it’s probably not recyclable and should not go in the recycle bin. Placing non-recyclable items in the recycle bin can create extra costs and possible mishaps at the recycling facility, so your best option is to try and reuse it, or make a note to buy recyclable paper next year. 

However, unlaminated paper-based wrapping paper and pre-recycled wrapping paper are usually recyclable. A good way to test is to crush wrapping paper into a ball. If it stays bunched up, it is more than likely recyclable. 

For more tips and info on sustainable holiday clean-up, check out our sources:

https://www.moneytalksnews.com/8-uses-for-your-dead-christmas-tree/

https://earth911.com/home-garden/holiday-tip-dont-recycle-gift-wrap/

https://www.southernliving.com/news/what-happens-when-you-put-non-recyclables-in-the-recycling

We hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season, and we’ll see you in 2020!

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