Marketplace's guide to holiday recycling

A discarded Christmas tree sits on First Avenue in the East Village in New York City.

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JEREMY HOBSON: Well another Christmas is over. Although someone needs to tell the supermarkets because they're still playing Deck the Halls. As for you, well, you might have a bit of work to do. Like getting rid of the tree and all that wrapping paper. But before you chuck it all in the garbage, we've asked our sustainability reporter Adriene Hill to join us for some holiday recycling tips.

Good morning Adriene.

ADRIENE HILL: Good morning Jeremy.

HOBSON: So all that wrapping paper. Can I just throw that in the recycling bin?

HILL: Probably. Most places will take plain wrapping paper. But you might want to double check. The foil paper -- that shiny, glittery stuff -- can be a no-go. If you have to toss it, if you didn't rip it all the shreds you could use it again next year. Or you could get super crafty and make gift tags or fluff for bags. Right -- yeah?

HOBSON: I'm not sure I'm going to be that crafty, Adriene, but I get where you're coming from. What about the Christmas tree? What's the best way to get rid of that?

HILL: Lots of cities and communities have programs where you can bring your tree, or they'll pick it up and turn it into mulch. Some parts of the country get a bit more creative. In Louisiana, they use old Christmas trees for coast restoration around the marshes. And if you're in a rural area and have a fish pond, Missouri recommends putting the tree right in the pond. Fish love the little nooks and crannies a tree can provide. But don't toss it in the garbage. Trees can take up a lot of space in landfills and in some places it's illegal.

HOBSON: So what else do you got? What are the other tips to keep this Christmas nice and green?

HILL: If you got new shiny gadgets and electronics, don't just toss the old ones. Look for a place that might recycle it. That will take e-waste and re-purpose some of the resources that went into making it. Best Buy is now recycling most electronics no matter where you bought them.

HOBSON: Alright so it's all about re-purposing, recycling. What about re-gifting Adriene? Is that a good thing to do?

HILL: It's a great thing to do. Re-gifting is recycling, really. I met a guy named Edward Acosta who said if his kids get two of the same thing, one of those might wind up re-gifted.

EDWARD ACOSTA: My kids -- they get some duplicate of the toys and stuff so what I do is some of them I return it and some of them my wife says keep it and re-gift it to somebody if they have a birthday or something.

He says it's worked out pretty well. But Jeremy the trick is to keep track of the person who gave you those Reindeer socks, so you don't actually give them back to that same person.

HOBSON: That could be embarrassing. Marketplace's Adriene Hill, thanks so much.

HILL: Thank you Jeremy.

About the author

Adriene Hill is the senior multimedia reporter for LearningCurve.

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