How to Put That Lingering Holiday Waste to Good (Re)Use


Photo credit: eBay Green
This guest post was written by Annie Lescroart, a member of eBay's 270,000-member Green Team.

The holidays are a distant memory but for many people, the ghosts of Christmas waste still linger. Believe it or not, in the United States, it is estimated that the amount of household garbage in the U.S. generally increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, from 4 million tons to 5 million tons. Yikes!!

So if you're still staring at your Christmas tree, scratching your head, wondering what to do with all of those leftover cards, damaged decorations, and piles of wrapping paper, we've got a few tips that will help you make good on your New Years resolution to live a little greener—not to mention save a little cash!

Box and Re-Box

End up with piles of boxes that you spend hours breaking down and stuffing into your recycling bin? Avoid the hassle by investing in more durable decorative boxes for family Christmas presents that you can reuse year after year after year—and in between—use to store your Christmas decorations! Genius!

Create Homemade Tags and Cards

Always find yourself running to the store at the last minute to replenish your supply of Christmas tags and cards? Avoid the stress next year by planning ahead and using that leftover paper to make the thoughtful, homemade kind! eHow offers handy step-by-step instructions that make the process totally painless.


Photo credit: eBay Green

Get Shredding!!

Shred and stow excess wrapping paper and find creative uses for it throughout the year. Birthday presents for Grandma in North Dakota? Pad the package with it, instead of using those offensive Styrofoam peanuts. Have paper that's particularly colorful? Use it in place of tissue paper for housewarming, birthday, and graduation gifts. Our favorite, though? Use the green stuff as "grass" in Easter baskets this Spring!

Discover Your Inner Decorator

Christmas trees out of leftover ribbons? Vases filled with damaged or slightly broken ornaments? It's amazing what can be achieved with a few leftover decorations and a lot of imagination. For inspiration, take a look at what designer David Stark and InStyle Editor in Chief Ariel Foxman accomplished in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the State Department in Washington D.C. to celebrate the holidays.

Make DIY Drawer Liners

Did you make a New Year's resolution to (finally!) get organized? Do it in a planet-friendly way by making that leftover wrapping paper do double duty as drawer liners. Cut pieces of wrapping paper to fit the bottom of your dresser drawers, and then attach the paper with double-stick tape. Voila! Homemade drawer liners that are environmentally friendly because they are made of paper that didn't end up in the landfill. Bonus: They contribute to your resolution to spend less and save more—they don't cost a penny!

This article was written by Annie Lescroart, Senior Manager of Sustainability Communications at eBay and contributor to eBayGreenTeam.com. For the past eight years, she has been helping companies link their brands to social issues and tell their stories to the world. The eBay Green Team welcomes your comments, so please visit us at eBayGreenTeam.com and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.
Read more about creative reuse:
When Does Reuse Become Hoarding?
10 Reuse Solutions for Plastic Bags
Creative Re-use: Turn a Light Bulb into a Terrarium

Tags: Do It Yourself | Waste

Best of TreeHugger 2014

WHAT'S HOT ON FACEBOOK