The holiday season is almost over and soon it will be time to take down the decorations and dispose of Christmas trees, packaging, wrapping and other items, including used or broken electronics.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has a few suggestions to help with disposing of these items this holiday season.
Strings of lights and pre-lit trees can be recycled.
Also, if you received new electronics and would like to dispose of old or broken items, consider these options:
- Check the electronic manufacturer’s website for mail-back options, or check your electronics store for take-back options.
- Consider repurposing items by adding memory or making upgrades to old devices.
- Donate used electronics to schools, nursing homes and other organizations that might need them for entertainment or training. Electronics manufacturers that sell products in Missouri usually have take-back programs in place. Check your local stores, libraries or electronic recyclers for recycling opportunities.
- After you've reused or donated unwanted electronic equipment, help reduce the remaining electronic waste from this holiday season by e-cycling your worn out computers, cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, DVD players, gaming systems, TVs and other electronic items through e-cycle Missouri. An electronics recycler can remove potentially hazardous materials and reduce the amount of waste going into landfills.
- See our online Registered Electronics Recycling Businesses List at dnr.mo.gov/env/hwp/electronics/recyclerlist.htm and upcoming e-cycling events schedule at dnr.mo.gov/ecyclemo/events.htm.
Christmas trees, wreaths and other decorative greenery
Natural greenery makes beautiful Christmas decorations, but deciding what to do with them after the holidays can be challenging. Here are some tips:
- Check with the tree farms and other retailers for take-back options.
- Remove all of the decorations and trimmings; most are reusable and could contaminate the environment or harm wildlife.
- Avoid burning trees and other greenery in wood stoves or fireplaces; the resins could cause a flue fire.
- Compost or dispose trees in an environmentally safe manner.
- For more details, see our online factsheet Christmas Tree Disposal at dnr.mo.gov/pubs/pub184.htm.
Boxes and other packaging
Online shopping is rapidly gaining in popularity, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. With this growing trend come heaps of cardboard boxes, packing and wrapping materials that can accumulate quickly and become difficult to manage. Following are some suggestions for dealing with waste packaging:
- Flatten cardboard boxes to fit your garage or other storage space for future use, such as shipping or moving items.
- You can also take these items to local recycling facilities. Call your Solid Waste Management District or check for recyclers using the Missouri Materials Management Directory found at recyclesearch.com/profile/mo-directory.
The holidays can leave leftover food that can go to waste before we can eat it all. An average of nearly 40% of food is wasted in the United States, averaging about $1,600 per family annually. Here are a few ideas for dealing with holiday leftovers:
- Prevent food waste and save some of your hard-earned dollars by transforming your leftover holiday food items into fresh meals for your household.
- Search online for recipes for creative dishes using holiday leftovers. Learn more at gov/foodwaste/faqs.
- Guidance on how to safely handle holiday leftovers and other food safety information can be found at mo.gov/safety/foodsafety/consumer/seasonal.php.