22 Aug 2014
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How to Be Eco-Friendly This Holiday

Handy tips to help reduce, reuse and recycle this holiday season.

How to Be Eco-Friendly This Holiday

Ah, the twinkling lights of the menorahs, kinaras and Christmas trees, the nostalgic smells of fresh-cut pine, fragrant mazao and frying latkes, the traditional sounds of carols, Hanukah blessings and Kwanzaa drumming—what could possibly spoil the holiday spirit?

How about mountains of balled up wrapping paper, crushed boxes and cut ribbons, higher energy bills from all those festive lights, plus the potential hazards of old and unsafe decorations, and the negative impact on the environment from all of the festivities?

Patch is here to help with this handy guide to greening up the holidays!


General Information

Since Christmas falls on a Tuesday, trash and recycling pick-up days are on a holiday schedule this year:

Montgomery County—No pick up on Christmas day, and collection will occur one day later than your normal pick up for the rest of the week – if your pick-up is usually Wednesday, wait until Thursday to put your trash out. If it is Thursday, wait until Friday, etc.

Prince George’s County—If your regularly scheduled trash collection day was Tuesday, you’ll need to wait until your next scheduled day. No other days are affected by the Christmas holiday.


Christmas Trees

Montgomery County

Natural – Montgomery County will pick up your tree on your regular recycling day between Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, and Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, provided that you have removed all decorations, taken it off the stand and placed it curbside (but not in a plastic bag). The county recycles trees into mulch, so don’t forget to visit one of the county’s Neighborhood Mulch Preserve locations

Artificial – Call 311 to schedule a bulk trash pick-up.

Prince George’s County – Christmas Trees will be accepted as a normal part of the yard waste collection program on your regularly scheduled trash pick-up day.



If you can remove all wire, plastic clips, decorative items, etc. from your wreath or roping, you can place them in a yard trim bin, or tie them with twine and leave curbside for regular pick up.


Christmas Lights

Try switching to LED lights this year. According to Discovery News, these environmentally friendly bulbs are longer-lasting, more durable than the traditional style, don’t get hot, do not contain mercury and use less energy.

To recycle your old lights:

Montgomery County - While curbside pick-up is not available, there are a handful of Home Depot’s and MOM’s market locations that will accept your old string lights.

Prince George’s County – Old Christmas lights can be brought to The Brown Station Road Sanitary Landfill, located at 11611 White House Road, Upper Marlboro, MD


Wrapping Paper

Quite a bit of wrapping paper can be recycled with your normal paper recycling – no foil or plastic film though.

One great tip is to replacing the old newspaper that you had been wrapping your ornaments and decorations in with the foil wrapping paper, then recycle the old newspapers!


Cardboard Packaging/Boxes

Take the extra time to remove plastic “windows” and be sure to flatten all of your boxes (if you don’t, you are just advertising all of your new goodies to potential thieves who may be on the lookout after the holidays!)


Plastic Packaging

More and more types of plastic packaging can be recycled. When in doubt, check with the Prince George’s or Montgomery County websites.


Christmas Cards

Paper cards without foil or plastic inserts or windows can be recycled. Photo cards, however, cannot and should be treated as trash.

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