This Christmas, I hosted a vegan potluck at my home. The food was wonderful, but there was definitely far more of it than the six of us in attendance could eat in a day. Excess, even for those who are mindful about it, tends to go hand in hand with the holiday season. Be it extra food, old electronics, wrapping paper, greeting cards, holiday decor or old toys, I would reckon that each and every one of us has something that we need to clear out.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has put together a great guide on what to do with your holiday excess. I've included some highlights below:
• Extra Food - If you have extra food, you can try contacting a local food bank. Even as I was preparing holiday dishes, I came across canned and packaged goods left from my former roommate. I'll never use the five cans of chicken broth, stuffing mix or soups with meat bases, so I'll be dropping all that stuff at a local food bank and have reclaimed part of my pantry!
• Electronics - There are more options than many of us realize for disposing of our old electronics. Selling on ebay or craigslist, donating to a local charity, passing it along to someone without a tv/ipod/dvd player or even posting a free ad in your local paper or on craigslist to pass along the good tidings. If all else fails, you can look up local drop-off locations for electronics recycling on Earth911.
• Holiday Lights - This is usually a tough one, but Holiday LEDs has opened up their light recycling program. For those that don't live near a drop-off location (they all seem to be in Michigan), you can follow the directions on their site for sending your old lights to them. You will receive a coupon for 25% a future order of LED lights from their site. Minnesota also has a program with drop-off locations.
If that doesn't work for you, Earth911 should be able to find a local drop-off for you (sans coupon).
• Christmas Trees - Here in Los Angeles, our Bureau of Sanitation has a program for curbside pickup, as well as many drop-off locations at local parks and fire stations. Check your local refuse company or municipality for similar programs.
Read the full article: NRDC - Holiday Guide to Reuse & Recycling
(Image: Clean Energy Resource Teams)