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Natural Awakenings Hudson County NJ

Eco-Friendly Tips Make Holidays Green and Bright

Presents under a christmas tree

There’s a lot to think about during the holiday season—like shopping, decorating, cooking and parties, not to mention cleanup. The Hudson County Improvement Authority is encouraging residents to keep Mother Earth clean too, with eco-friendly holiday preparations and celebrations. Here are a few suggestions from CEO Norman M. Guerra:

Recycle cardboard. Nearly 80 percent of Americans shop online, which means an abundance of cardboard boxes. These are high-value recyclables: local governments sell them to third-party recyclers to offset publicly funded recycling costs. Leave these boxes curbside, separate from regular recyclables. Remember to remove any packing materials (packing tape is OK), break them down and remove mailing labels.

Carry reusable shopping bags. These are helpful for in-store shopping and make an ecologically safe option to packaging gifts. “Plastic shopping bags are an environmental nightmare,” Guerra says. “Discarded plastic bags can end up in waterways and are deadly to birds and marine life. Stores across Hudson County have plastic bag recycling bins. Find the location nearest you.”

Recycle real trees. Place the tree curbside any Wednesday in January between 5 and 8 p.m. for Thursday pickup. Don’t wrap or bag the tree, and make sure lights and ornaments are gone. Real trees are biodegradable and can be reused or recycled for mulch or other purposes. The most ecofriendly option is to purchase a living, rooted tree, which can be planted outside later. Helpful tip: Dig a hole before the ground freezes to allow for planting after Christmas.

Party prepared. Many party items, such as disposable plates, napkins, disposable cutlery and paper cups and towels, aren’t recyclable and should be placed with household trash. When entertaining, choose plates, cutlery and glassware that can be washed and reused rather than ending up in a landfill.

Recyclable wrapping paper? After gifts are opened, the cleanup begins. Laminated and glossy wrapping paper aren’t recyclable; neither are ribbons. A fun and earth-friendly option is to use recycled wrapping paper that’s embedded with seed (see TheGreenHead.com). Once used, it can be planted in the spring and will sprout into noninvasive wildflowers.

Industry statistics show that 25 percent of additional waste is created over the holiday season, more than any other time of year, Guerra says. To keep Hudson County clean, download the Recycle Coach App for more information on pickup days in every town.

For more information, call 201-324-6222 or visit hcia.org.

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