By Melanie Stewart
We provided ways to reduce waste and recycle during the holidays; as cleanup begins there are many ways reduce the amount of waste heading to the landfill and you can help others.
Christmas trees can be reused in your own yard; whole to provide birds some shelter or branches can be cut off and placed over perennial plants to protect again frost heave. Omaha provides recycling locations, click here for rules, updated locations, and hours. Volunteers will be there December 30th & 31st and again January 6th & 7th from 10am-4pm to help unload.
If you would like pickup, consider the BoyScouts in both Lincoln and Omaha metro area. The “Scouting for Trees” program is available online and you can have them pick up the trees from your curb and take them to be recycled. They continue this later than the dropoff sites and it is a free community service.
If you are taking down outdoor lights and find they are dead or you don’t need all that you have, take them to Scrap Central, for free recycling. Remove all packaging, bags, twist-ties, and rubber bands and Scrap Central will recycle them, donating the proceeds to local charities.
While recycling is great, reducing and reusing is the best way to go. Did you or your kids get battery operated gadgets? Rechargeable batteries are worth the up front cost, both for your budget and the environment. If you upgraded your electronic devices, remember to repurpose or recycle the old ones.
Did you struggle to buy gifts for people on your list? Get gifts you don’t want or need? Maybe you have leftover canned or packaged goods bought for holiday cooking you didn’t end up using? Or struggle to find time to get it all done? Start talking to your family now about ways to make changes for next year; focus less on presents and more on your time and happiness.
Speaking of the gifts you don’t need, don’t throw them away or let them clutter up your home, donate them. Lots of people donate items during the holiday season, but the need is there year round, and especially when it’s cold outside.
Unopened toiletries (including hotel/travel size), scents, clothing, functional items, electronics, and non-prepared food can be donated to a variety of shelters and charities, including the VA Medical Center, Youth Emergency Services, Siena Francis House, Food Bank for the Heartland, Salvation Army, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Open Door Mission, just to name a few. Check out Donation Town to find a charity near you.
If you or your child received books and you need to make room on your shelf, don’t forget the Little Free Library!