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The Broomfielder

Broomfield’s Post-Holiday Clean-Up

Dec 27, 2018 10:49AM

By Elizabeth Buckingham

Now that the holidays have come and gone, it’s time to deal with what remains: the mounds of trash. Americans generate 25% more trash during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas; this adds up to more than one million extra tons each weekclogging our already-overstuffed landfills. If you’re working hard on reducing your environmental impact, the massive post-holiday clean-up is a great place to start.

 Fifty million live Christmas trees are purchased each year in the U.S., and thirty million of those end up in the landfill. Christmas trees are easy to recycle, and most cities now offer tree recycling services after the holidays; Broomfield has seven drop-off sites throughout the city, open from December 15 through January 15. Ensure that all lights, tinsel, garland and decorations have been removed; Tom Wells, the city’s forester, specifically asked that people “please double-check for wire, hooks or other items that could damage the chipper or injure our staff.” Wreaths and other non-tree greenery aren’t permitted at the drop-off sites because they most likely contain wire. Find your closest drop-off location at

Recycled tree mulch is used in city landscaping, and if you’re looking to boost your garden’s soil fertility this spring, consider picking up some of that mulch yourself. The city’s tree branch recycling is moving to a new, larger location at 2990 W. 124thAve., about a half-mile east of Lowell Blvd. on 124th. The new site will be officially open starting January 2; there is no limit to the amount of mulch you can collect, but proof of Broomfield residency is required.

As for other holiday waste, consider starting your own compost pile. Americans throw away 40% of all edible food produced each year; it takes up a huge amount of landfill space and is a major contributor to greenhouse gases. Composting your food waste at home not only keeps this organic matter out of the landfill, but also gives you a rich soil amendment for your garden. Many different composting systems are available; visit your local garden center to learn more about starting this eco-friendly effort at your own home.

While simple, plain wrapping paper can be recycled, any glittery, textured paper or ribbon can’t. Four million tons of waste each year comes from just shopping bags and wrapping paper; make sure you bring your own reusable bags when you shop and use plain butcher paper for wrapping gifts – get the kids to decorate it with crayons for a screen-free activity! 

For future gift-giving occasions, consider focusing on experiences rather than things. Instead of buying hundreds of dollars worth of cheap plastic or soon-to-be-obsolete electronics shipped from overseas and encased in layers of packaging, plan fun activities together, and avoid filling up your home (and our landfills) with unwanted, unneeded stuff. While it’s possible to recycle certain items, recycling centers are now overwhelmed and other countries are refusing to accept our recyclables, so they end up in the landfill anyway. Reducing our consumption is by far the most effective eco-strategy.