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High Country Conservation Center 737 Ten Mile Dr Frisco CO 80443 PO Box 4506 Frisco CO 80443


(970) 668-5703


Dear Eartha,

As the holidays roll on, I’m dealing with loads of torn wrapping paper, gifts I’ll never use, and food I won’t devour on my own. Can you help me sort through this mess?

It’s not too late to sprinkle joy and eco-magic into your holiday season! Amidst the parties and presents, it sounds like you are experiencing a sad reality for many Americans: holiday waste in the US surges by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. The good news is that we still have opportunities to manage some of the trash while continuing the season of merriment. Let’s talk details.

How to Tell if Wrapping Paper is Recyclable

Not all gift wraps are created equally. To tell if yours is recyclable, shake out any bows, ribbons, glitter or gift tags. Then, scrunch your wrapping paper into a ball. If it stays in a ball, you can recycle it. If it springs back out, it’s likely a foil-based wrapping which means you’ll need to toss it in the trash. Watch this video (or visit for more guidance.

Keep in mind that tissue paper belongs in the trash, and gift bags can be saved for reuse next season. Next year (or for any celebration that involves gift giving) bust out the old gift bags, wrap with newspaper, or get creative with repurposed ribbons and lengths of twine.

Christmas Feast Wisdom: Savor Every Bite, Minimize Waste

Cooked up a storm but have leftovers? Fear not! Your freezer (or your friend’s) can be the holiday hero. While a fridge keeps cooked food fresh for a few days, a freezer can extend that delight for 1 month to 1 year. You could also cook up a whole new feast from your leftovers (savory potato pancakes, anyone?). Check out for recipe ideas, or download ChatGPT and let artificial intelligence revolutionize your post-holiday meal planning.

As the meal unfolds, don’t forget to recycle. Find your nearest glass recycling location to properly dispose of all those glass bottles and jars. And if you haven’t yet, enroll yourself in the free Food Scrap Program to transform any food waste into High Country Compost.

Share the Magic: Heartwarming Acts of Kindness

If you find yourself with gifts you won’t use, consider donating them to a local thrift store (whose profits support great work here in the county). Or, offer those goodies up for free on a local Facebook page. And when future occasions call for you to give a gift, think about making a donation to a local nonprofit in someone’s name. These thoughtful gestures not only warm the hearts of your loved ones but also contribute to a season of goodwill and positive impact.

In the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle, it’s evident that our festivities generate a significant amount of waste from gifts, decorations, and food. However, let’s turn this awareness into action and make a conscious effort to waste less and spread joy through acts of kindness – this season and beyond.