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Handy tips for a sustainable holiday

If youre making a list of how to green your holidays, be sure to add some of our favorites. Then check out someevents to cure the post-holiday blues.

Green Your Holidays

Sending cards?

Try e-cards or look for greetings made with recycled content (the more post-consumer content, the better). Include a note with your cards that they can be donated for reuse by sending to St. Judes Ranch for Children, where they will be repurposed into greetings for 2013. Other types of occasions are needed as well, so save those December birthday cards!

Purchasing gifts?

Show some style when shopping by bringing your own reusable bags. Choose minimally-packaged items made with recycled content and give items that will be treasured, not thrown out before the next holiday season. Consider giving experiences, homemade and vintage gifts. Remember to wrap it recyclable by using old newspaper, paper gift wrap or a nice paper gift bag. A reusable bag or container is the gift wrap that keeps on giving. Check out these creative gift wrap reuse ideas.

Preparing a holiday meal?

Look for items in recyclable packaging and buy minimally- or non-packaged fresh produce, like that from Greenmarket. Compost your vegetable trimmings on your own or bring to select Greenmarkets or other drop-off sites. Prevent waste by making small changes such as using recyclable aluminum foil rather than plastic wrap for food storage. Serve your masterpiece on reusable plates and offer guests reusable flatware, glassware and napkins.

Stuck with clean up duties?

Remember to include gift boxes, wrapping paper and other paper packaging with your regular paper and cardboard recycling (remove tape, ribbons and other decorations). Your egg nog cartons can be recycled tooplace them in your recycling bin along with glass, metal and plastic items. Reuse Styrofoam packing peanuts and compost the ones made from cornstarch.

Post-Holiday Recycling Events to Cure the Winter Blues

Recycle Your Tree.

If youre thinking of putting up a real tree for the holidays, plan to chip in atMulchFeston January 12 & 13!Trees (cleaned of stands, lights, tinsel and ornaments) will be collected and recycled into mulch for NYC parks at designated sites from Jan 7-13. Bring your own bag to select sites and take home mulch for your yard, garden or street tree. Find citywide drop-off sites and mulch pick-up locationshere. If you miss MulchFest, the city will pick up trees (also stripped of ornaments, etc)curbsidefrom January 2-19 barring any snow disruptions.

Recycle Unwanted Electronics.

If you're upgrading or unloading electronics, don't send them to the landfill. Find recycling resources here and check out the "After the Holidays" e-waste collection schedule from the Lower East Side Ecology Center, with events in all five boroughs.

Loosen Your Drawers.

Clear out ill-fitting, outdated and otherwise unwanted clothing and other textiles (even the stuff you spilled cranberry sauce on at the holiday party) and bring them to one of GrowNYCs weekly collections for reusable and recyclable textiles.

Swap Your Stuff.

GrowNYCs Stop 'N' Swap is the ultimate re-gifting party. Bring reusable items to share (portable items only) or simply bring a tote bag or two to take home things you can put to reuse. Unstuff your home at our Staten Island swap on December 15 and check back for winter swap dates and locations at

From all of us at GrowNYC, thank you for helping green our city by taking our "recycling challenge" at community events, volunteering to help collect recyclables from street fairs, recycling textiles at our Greenmarkets, attending our Stop 'N' Swaps and more throughout 2012. We look forward to seeing you out at many of the great recycling events that will kick off a sustainable 2013. Happy Holidays!

For more tips on keeping your holidays green and merry, visit NYCWasteLess.