The National Retail Federation says that we'll spend nearly $720.89 billion dollars on gifts this Christmas, and I think it goes without saying that along with all of those gifts comes a bunch of extra trash. Lots and lots of trash.

Between now and New Year’s Day, the EPA says that Americans put out a 25% more garbage than we do any other time of the year. That extra trash is thanks to wrapping paper, packaging peanuts, pine needles, and more.

If you're looking for a way to not only reduce waste but also help keep our community clean, the answer is as simple as recycling and it's really not as difficult to do as you might think.

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    Recycle Packaging Peanuts

    There's a UPS store on the Vestal Parkway and if you've got a bunch of packing peanuts, it can't hurt to call and ask if they'd be interested in re-using them.

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    Reuse

    This is totally something that we used to do in my family, and you probably did, too. If the wrapping paper was removed carefully, we'd reuse it. You can also reuse bows and tissue paper if it's not too crinkled...unless you're going for the crinkled look.

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    Recycle Christmas Cards

    One of my most favorite Christmastime projects is to pull out the Christmas cards I saved from the year before and cut them up to make them into pretty gift tags.

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    Recycle Your Christmas Tree

    You can either put your tree through a chipper and use the mulch around your yard, or you can drop it off at one of the local town's tree drop locations and they'll chip it and use it for mulch.