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Recycling Information

11 Ideas for Waste Recycling and Reduction



Waste recycling idea: Christmas trees as windbreaks.

David Beaulieu

The recycling information provided below represents but a small fraction of what homeowners can do to live earth-friendly lives. I have tried to focus on recycling information that goes beyond just reducing the burden on our landfills. Follow these ideas for waste recycling and you'll not only be "saving the planet," but also saving money in some cases.

I begin with recycling information and ideas for reducing waste apropos to the holiday season. On Page 2, I provide more general recycling information.

Recycling Information for the Holiday Season

Waste Recycling Idea #1: Re-Using Packing Peanuts

If you were lucky, you received gifts that were sufficiently "high-end" to be packed with packing peanuts. Before you take those packing peanuts out with the trash, consider how useful they may be as filler in your container gardens.

Huh? you ask. That's right: packing peanuts are light and airy enough to offer great drainage at the bottom of a container garden, such as the raised beds I show you how to construct elsewhere. Why pay money for a product such as perlite to accomplish the same result, when the packing peanuts are free? You could also use crushed stone; however, not only will you have to pay for it, but its weight will make the container much heavier to move around.

Thus this is one example of recycling information that will help you save money, as well as "saving the planet."

Waste Recycling Idea #2: Buying Live Christmas Trees

Like using outdoor Christmas tree lights? Why not buy a live Christmas tree and plant it outdoors later? That way, you'll be able to decorate it for many years to come with outdoor Christmas tree lights.

If you follow this practice every year, you can eventually end up with a nice windbreak or privacy screen, without spending extra money at the nursery. Your Christmas trees can thus serve double-duty -- another piece of recycling information that will save you money.

Waste Recycling Idea #3: Re-Using Cut Christmas Trees

If you do opt for a cut Christmas tree rather than a living tree that you can plant later, at least consider alternatives to letting it end up at the local landfill. For instance, here's some recycling information that birdwatchers will appreciate:

You can put your cut Christmas trees out in the backyard after the holidays are over, to provide shelter for wild birds. Recycling Christmas trees in this manner is just one of many ways that you can use plants to attract wild birds. Draw even more wild birds by hanging suet on the Christmas trees, or pine cones smeared with peanut butter and rolled in birdseed.

For non-birdwatchers, another piece of recycling information pertaining to cut Christmas trees may be more useful. Saw off the branches, then saw the trunk up into smaller parts. Use this material as "flooring" with which to line the bottom of your compost bin. With the superior aeration such flooring will provide, your compost will break down faster.

Waste Recycling Idea #4: Giving Plants as Gifts

Give people plants for a holiday gift. A plant is a gift that will "keep on giving." Even if it does die, it can be recycled -- by composting it. Think of composting as "recycling plants."

Furthermore, a plant doesn't come in a box, so there's no cardboard waste to dispose of. And if you wish to take "saving the planet" to another level with your gift, make sure the plant comes in a fancy container -- one too pretty to throw away! There will also be less temptation to cover up fancy containers with tin foil, which is not biodegradable.

Waste Recycling Idea #5: Giving Nursery Certificates as Gifts

Alternatively, give people gift certificates provided by a local nursery. The recipients can then do their own shopping in spring. This alternative is not only enviro-friendly but will also reduce holiday shopping stress for you! If the recipients are not already committed to composting, this is a good opportunity for you to impart some recycling information, yourself: inform them of the benefits of compost. I provide more recycling information about compost on the next page.

On Page 2 we turn from recycling information for the holiday season to recycling information you can use during the rest of the year....

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