Recycling helps reduce waste during the holidays

Though the holidays are traditionally a time of plenty, that doesn't mean being wasteful is OK. This year, we asked some local experts for some tips on how to be more resourceful while celebrating the season.

Gift wrap itself is not recyclable, but Connie Wiggins, the executive director of Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, and Catherine Long, the education program coordinator at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, provided lots of creative ideas on how to stay green during the holidays.

As it turns out, there are many ways to conserve natural resources without being a Scrooge at all.

Before Christmas

•Use old Christmas cards to make new gift tags for presents.

•Wrap packages in newspaper, brown paper bags or other alternative materials, such cloth or old maps.

•Accent a package with candy canes or an ornament instead of using a bow.

•Use gift bags, which can be used year after year, rather than wrapping paper.

•Look for environmentally friendly gifts and wrapping paper that includes recycled content.

•Shop at thrift stores for both gift wrap and presents.

•Try to buy gifts that come with less packaging.

•Check for the Energy Star symbol, which indicates energy efficiency, when shopping for appliances and electronics.

•Consider giving plants or trees as presents.

After Christmas

•Collect and reuse gift bags, tissue paper, ribbons and bows.

•Donate old electronics to a charity or thrift store instead of throwing them away.

•Look into recycling old cell phones and computers.

•Remember that cardboard boxes and shipping containers can be recycled. Most garbage haulers don't offer curbside pickup for cardboard and shipping containers, but you can take those items, as well as other recyclables, to the Recycling Bank of Gwinnett, 4300 Satellite Blvd. in Duluth.

Recycling Sites Plan to take live trees to recycling sites. Trees can be dropped off between Dec. 26 and Jan. 12 at the following locations:

•Fire Station 14

1600 Ga. Highway 23, Buford

•Fire Station 17

2739 Brooks Road, Dacula

•Fire Station 18

3600 Braselton Highway, Dacula

•Fire Station 5

3001 Old Norcross Road, Duluth

•Fire Station 19

3275 N. Berkeley Lake Road, Duluth

•Fire Station 8

2244 Ga. Highway 20, Grayson

•Fire Station 9

1900 Five Forks Trickum Road, Lawrenceville

•Fire Station 15

275 S. Perry St., Lawrenceville

•Fire Station 20

1801 Cruse Road, Lawrenceville

•Fire Station 25

3575 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville

•Fire Station 2

12 Harmony Grove Road, Lilburn

•Fire Station 3

4394 Five Forks Trickum Road, Lilburn

•Fire Station 22

2180 Stone Drive, Lilburn

•Fire Station 11

5885 Live Oak Parkway, Norcross

•Fire Station 23

4355 Steve Reynolds Blvd., Norcross

•Fire Station 6

3890 Johnson Drive, Snellville

•Briscoe Park, behind Recycling Center

2500 Sawyer Parkway, Snellville

•Fire Station 21

470 Old Peachtree Road, Suwanee