The Aftermath of Christmas: How to Properly Dispose of Holiday Waste

The Aftermath of Christmas: How to Properly Dispose of Holiday Waste

Experts emphasize the importance of responsible waste management during the post-Christmas cleanup

The joy and excitement of Christmas morning often overshadow the cleanup that follows the festivities. However, as the wrapping paper settles and the new gadgets are unboxed, it is crucial to consider the proper disposal of the resulting waste. From old electronics to packaging materials, experts stress the importance of responsible waste management to minimize the environmental impact of the holiday season.

Recycling Electronics: A Sustainable Solution

When it comes to replacing old electronics with new Christmas gifts, it is essential to dispose of the outdated devices responsibly. Rather than discarding them in the trash, experts recommend taking them to a Solid Waste Agency or an electronics manufacturer for recycling. By doing so, valuable resources, such as metals and plastics, can be extracted and repurposed, preventing them from ending up in landfills where they would remain indefinitely.

Joe Horaney, the communications director of the Cedar Rapids-Linn County Solid Waste Agency, highlights the significance of recycling electronic waste. He explains that manufacturers dismantle these devices, extracting recyclable materials like metal wiring and plastic components. By participating in electronic recycling programs, individuals contribute to the circular economy, reducing the need for raw materials and minimizing the environmental impact of electronic waste.

Proper Disposal of Packaging Materials

Empty boxes and packaging materials are an inevitable part of the Christmas aftermath. However, it is crucial to recycle these items to reduce waste and promote sustainability. Horaney advises individuals to ensure that cardboard boxes are free from any styrofoam, plastic wrap, or other non-recyclable materials before placing them in the recycling bin. By removing these contaminants, the recycling process becomes more efficient, increasing the chances of successful recycling.

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Wrapping paper, on the other hand, poses a challenge for recycling. Not all wrapping paper is recyclable, especially those with a sheen or coating. Horaney urges individuals to discard such wrapping paper in the trash rather than contaminating the recycling stream. Responsible waste management involves being mindful of what can and cannot be recycled, ensuring that only recyclable materials are included in the recycling process.

Disposing of Christmas Trees Responsibly

As the holiday season comes to an end, many households face the question of what to do with their Christmas tree. Horaney advises checking with local haulers to explore available options for tree disposal. In some cities, curbside collection services are provided, allowing residents to conveniently dispose of their trees. Private haulers serving smaller communities may also offer curbside collection services.

While natural trees can be easily recycled, artificial trees pose a challenge. Experts suggest exploring alternative options such as selling the artificial tree online or giving it to a friend who may find it useful. If none of these options are viable, storing the artificial tree for future use extends its lifespan and reduces unnecessary waste.


The aftermath of Christmas celebrations presents an opportunity to prioritize responsible waste management. By recycling old electronics, properly disposing of packaging materials, and exploring sustainable options for Christmas tree disposal, individuals can contribute to a more environmentally friendly holiday season. As we revel in the joy of giving and receiving, let us also remember the importance of giving back to the planet by reducing waste and embracing sustainable practices.

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