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Unique Ways To Recycle And Help Save The Planet #3

Updated on December 24, 2012
Glass bulb ornament
Glass bulb ornament | Source
Tools for project of transforming burnt Christmas bulbs into next year's ornaments.
Tools for project of transforming burnt Christmas bulbs into next year's ornaments. | Source
Egg carton makes great tool for hold bulbs while they dry.
Egg carton makes great tool for hold bulbs while they dry. | Source

Recycling For Christmas

Well, it is that time of the year, when we can recycle and reuse. I am not referring to re-gifting, but I am talking about year end holidays! Once all the presents are opened and the decoration come down, we are usually left with a mound of colorful trash! But wait! Does all of this stuff really need to go to the community dump or is there Earth saving ideas in this heap? Join me in this issue of Unique Ways To Recycle and Reuse To Help Save The Planet series, and discover some wonderful ideas of recycling during the holidays.

Lights that illuminate the homes are beautiful, especially on the tree. If you use the large bulb string of lights, then do not throw away the bulbs that burn out. With a bit of glitter, string and glue, these bulbs can have a second life as a tree ornament! Not only those light bulbs, but you can save those clear or white chandelier bulbs. Using a small paint brush, you can paint on the glue, over the whole bulb or in stripes or dots, then sprinkle the glitter of choice color. I used an egg carton, turned upside down with X slits, to hold the bulbs while they dry. Then finish the metal end with string, yarn or ribbon, and remember to leave a loop for hanging.

Speaking of strings, yarns and ribbons, when gifts are unwrapped, save all the ribbons, strings and bows. You will end up with a discarded box or gift bag to collect them in. Many of them can be reused on other gifts in the future or in craft projects like the string for hanging the bulb ornaments. Be creative! Even the crushed bows are salvageable. With the crushed bows, you can cut each loop in half and with a sharp pair of scissors, cut each half lengthwise four times. Taking the open scissors, use one blade to curl each ribbon and you will have created a fresh bow!

One of the biggest waste each year from the holidays is the paper! So much wrapping paper that dazzle the eye for only a few days before being torn to lay on the floor! After the first shirt or sweater box is opened, grabbed the box! Even if the wrapping paper is torn, smooth them out for more compact storage in the box. Next time you ship or pack a breakable gift, the saved wrapping paper makes great cushion when wadded into balls.

A lot of gifts come in tin cans filled with sweet goodies. Be sure to save each and everyone, big or small. They have so much value for reuse that the list can go on and on. In order to save storage space, be sure to store the tins full. You can store glass ornaments and reuse the wrapping paper for cushion in these cans. They are excellent for holding your sugar, flour, beans, rice, even oatmeal, to keep bug free. Even the big popcorn tins make excellent storage for extension cords. They can hold up to 200 hundred feet! Then come next holiday, you have tins to use, at your fingertips, for gifting of your goodies.

Do you get things shipped to you with hundreds of those "peanuts" for cushion? Not only can they be reused for your packing material, but you can put in a labelled trash sack and store with your garden material. They make excellent substitution for drainage rocks in bottom of flower pots and lightens the weight at the same time.

If any of the empty boxes, that are being tossed abandoned, can break down, then save them. We always need a box sooner or later! Keep one large box together to store the other collapse boxes in. And do not throw away the empty cardboard tubes from the wrapping paper roll. They work well in storing the strings of light from the tree. You can anchor the lights with a simple slit on the end of the tube and then wrapped around and secure the end of the lights in the same fashion at the other end. They are also good for storing or mailing posters and prints.

If you are a candle lover, be sure to save the thick jars for refilling of your own creative mix of wax and aroma. You can even save the wax of candles burnt low and reheat to make a new candle creation. Be sure to look up online or at your local library or craft store, the safety tips of candle making before attempting this project, but it is real easy to do.

Last but not least, I know a lot of people enjoy a real live Christmas tree at this time of year, but remember to be responsible with the discarding of that tree. If you can not buy a live rooted tree for replanting, then at lease take you tree to a center that will chip for mulch. Often they will chip for free or small cost and let you have the mulch for your own garden. What better way of honoring the tree's life, by letting it renew the Earth.

Hope everyone's holidays are happy ones and that we all walk away this season feeling better about giving back to the Earth and less to the landfills. Remember, there are always unique ways to reuse and recycle with our everyday actions that will move closer to saving the planet. What better gift can we give throughout the year?


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    • backporchstories profile image

      backporchstories 4 years ago from Kentucky


    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      Excellent, ideas. I think the bulb ornaments are fun. I may make some before I put the Christmas decorations

    • backporchstories profile image

      backporchstories 4 years ago from Kentucky

      Thanks! Yup, I thought about using the tree outside for the birds, but decided against it. In tight knit neighborhoods that could be a fire hazard, however, in the country we are free to do those kinds of things. I love stringing popcorn and cranberries for garland then let they birds and other critters enjoy after the holidays!

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Excellent ideas in this article for sure! I love the idea of painting and glittering those chandelier bulbs. That's a project I'm going to try.

      As far as Christmas trees go, since I am a bird lover I set my used tree out in the yard for my birds to discover. It also makes a great place for them to shelter from a storm. I use heavy jute twine to secure the tree upright in between 2 other trees. Once the needles fall to the earth, I cut up the branches and trunk for use in campfires.

      I really like the idea of using the wrapping paper for cushioning as well. Voted Up, useful and interesting.