Green Holiday Tips

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Happy holidays from ACUA! We've compiled a few tips so you can have a sustainable holiday season:

Holiday Recycling 101

Gift wrap and tissue paper are no longer accepted for recycling. 

Holiday cards and envelopes should be recycled. 

Gift boxes and other corrugated cardboard cartons should be saved for reuse, and if not, recycled. For large or oversized boxes, flatten them and stack inside another box.

Live Christmas trees can be recycled as yard waste once the holidays are over. Most municipalities collect trees separately for recycling. Flocked trees are acceptable, but trees should be free of lights and ornaments.

Electronics are popular gift items during the holidays. This often means that older models are disposed of. New Jersey law prohibits electronics from being thrown away in the trash. Atlantic County residents have many safe recycling options for all types of electronics.

Batteries are another item that can be found in abundance during the holidays. Alkaline batteries can be disposed of in the trash, but rechargeable batteries must be recycled either by bringing them to a household hazardous waste drop-off or a local retailer that accepts them for recycling.  Click here for battery disposal options.

Plastic utensils and dinnerware cannot be recycled after they are used. Use regular dishware that can be washed and reused.

Please don't recycle these items, reuse them instead:

  • ribbons and bows
  • bubble wrap
  • packaging peanuts (some UPS Stores accept and reuse these themselves)
  • cellophane

Don't see your item listed above? Try searching our  waste wizard for disposal information. 

Green Holiday Projects & Ways to Reduce Waste

Get creative with your gift-giving. We environmentalists hate waste and excess, so we can be apprehensive about purchasing additional items that aren’t really necessary. Instead of giving items, consider gifting experiences that can add value to your loved ones’ lives like a museum membership or local food (CSA) subscription.

Share reusable bags with family and friends. If you’re a dedicated greenie, it’s likely that you’re already bringing your own bag to the store. Try sharing that message with family and friends by purchasing or creating a bag for them so they can also help to reduce plastic waste.

Eat without excess. By planning ahead and sticking to a grocery list, we can still celebrate the flavors of the season without contributing to the growing food waste problem. Try preparing the holiday meal together with family, which will make the time put into making the meal just as valuable as eating it. And if there’s a little leftover, don’t fret too much -- when food is that yummy, it won’t go to waste the next day!

Send an e-card instead. You may not want to waste paper by sending an invite or greeting through the mail, but you can still send holiday greetings with an e-card, video or photo slideshow that’s sent via email.

Help clean the dishes. It’s not so inconvenient to use regular dishes when there’s help cleaning! Get the family together to clear the table, wash and dry dishes or load the dishwasher. This may prevent the purchase of throwaway dishes, cups and utensils.

Save and reuse ribbons, bows and bags. These items can be continually reused from year to year. Keep or swap them with loved ones to package holiday gifts.

Turn old clothes into gloves, scarves or hand warmers.Reuse shrunken sweaters or worn out clothing by turning them into a warm pair of mittens.  Click here for some ideas.

Make bows and ornaments from newspaper: 

Holiday ornaments 

Also follow our growing  Pinterest Boards for more ideas!


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