The Holidays are in full swing! Here are several ways to keep the environment in mind while having a fulfilling holiday season. Simple Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle tips can be used before, during, and after the parties commence.
• When hosting small holiday parties, try to use reusable tableware (plates, napkins, silverware, etc.) I know this means more dishes and laundry, but the reduction of paper and plastic to be pitched is worth it!
• Keep holiday decorating purchases to a minimum. Refrain from buying cheaply-made plastic decorative items that will only be used once or last only one season. Save your money for items that really spark joy and are made with lasting materials.
• Use brown packaging paper (often comes in shipping boxes) to make your own wrapping paper! You or the kids can color and decorate anyway you like. This makes your gift giving even more personal and special.
• Many local businesses take burned out strands of Christmas lights to be recycled. Lowes and Schoenlein Salvage (4625 Hardin-Wapakoneta Road, Sidney) are two confirmed business that do so. Also, some websites offer a coupon toward the purchase of new lights if you mail them your old ones.
• Have a pre-lit tree with some burned-out lights? Don’t toss it, just add strands of lights to the needed areas, or donate the tree to a church or thrift store for someone else to get more use out of it! Many families in the area can’t afford to buy a fake or real tree.
• Real trees can be recycled/reused as well! First, remove all ornaments, lights, wire, decorations, etc. from the tree. Residents of the City of Sidney will have the option to have their tree picked up curb-side. Roe Enterprises, 3680 W. Michigan Street Sidney, also takes real trees to grind up into mulch. Trees can be dropped off during their regular business hours. If you have a pond, sink the tree to the bottom to provide habitat for your fish.
• A lot of gift wrapping, bags, and tissue paper can be kept for next year. Paper wrapping (without any shiny foil) and cardboard boxes can be recycled.
• Still need some gift ideas? Try to shop local (reduces shipping and supports local economy), choose something consumable (i.e. locally crafted soap that can be used up and won’t take up space in their home), and try to choose any form of non-plastic packaging (glass and paper can be fully recycled, whereas most plastics cannot). The Shelby Soil and Water Conservation District sells rain barrels and conversion kits for only $45. Help the gardener in your life reduce water runoff and supply their gardens with fresh rainwater all season long. Stop in at 822 Fair Road Sidney to check them out!
The writer is the education coordinator for the Shelby Soil & Water Conservation District.