Recyclebank, the incentives and behavior change platform focused on waste, recently shared some 10 tips for a green Holiday Season! As we are heading to the start of 2016, here are six tips to make sure we are wrapping up 2016 sustainably.

1. Be Wise When getting Rid of Your Christmas Tree

If your plastic tree is beyond being “spruced” up, it unfortunately cannot be recycled. But, if your old plastic tree is still in good shape, consider donating it to a local homeless shelter or other community organization. For real cut trees, many cities have drop-off locations and/or curbside pickup programs, and they’ll “recycle” them for you, by turning them into mulch, using them to rebuild sand dunes, or for erosion control.

2. Find a new use for old or broken ornaments

Whether you’re decorating the tree or putting it away, ornaments are never safe from destruction! Amidst overexcited children, unstable branches, and worn out ornament boxes, there are endless ways for ornaments to crack and crumble under the holiday stress. Glass ornaments are the most prone to this, and unfortunately, they aren’t recyclable. So when it all comes crashing down, get out your DIY upcycling gear and create a new ornament from the debris (literally). If any ornaments survive a bit longer than you’d want, consider donating them!

3. Recycle holiday lights

From Christmas’ red and green to Hanukkah’s blue and white, don’t just trash your lights when they stop twinkling. When one broken light spoils the whole string, there are companies like that offer special mail-in recycling programs. When buying replacements for those recycled strings, choose LEDs — they save energy, and when one bulb burns out, the others stay lit (so you can replace a single bulb instead of starting all over again).

Shop sustainably

If you’re not sold on the whole experience idea, at least cut down on the waste generated from the physical gifts you buy. When you’re out on the town shopping, be sure to bring your own reusable bags to carry your presents home. If you forget a bag, don’t fret! Just be sure to reuse or recycle that plastic or paper bag as much as possible — with a little upcycling it could even double as a giftwrap option! Also, many stores will wrap your goodies in bubble wrap if they are somewhat fragile — if you’re not planning to mail the gift over long distances, consider skipping that step to cut down on plastic.

5. Pare down the packaging

If you’ve fully embraced the 21st century and do most of your shopping online, try your best to order from a single place and all at one time to avoid unnecessary extra cardboard boxes and plastic bags/fillers, and to cut down on the amount of gas used in travel to get your gifts to you. If you have some more end-of-year shopping  to do, consider buying in bulk to save on even more packaging. If you do end up with tons of packaging, do your best to recycle it all, since most of it (especially cardboard boxes) can be easily recycled or reused.

6. Don’t trash that candle wax

You’re bound to have burned through a bunch of candles during this holiday season. Whether you’ve lit candles on a holiday dinner table, decorated your windowsills with candles, or celebrated a more secular holiday (tradition states that Hanukkah candle wax should not be repurposed), there are tons of ways to reuse the melted, leftover wax. You can use it to create a DIY fire starter, to melt into new candles, or to help fix sticky zippers.

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