Tips for a Sustainable Holiday Season

This holiday season, make sure you celebrate and enjoy a safer holiday season.

See the NYC Health tips for the holidays. According to national statistics, Americans throw away more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. Campus Sustainability offers you simple ways to make sustainable holiday choices. Be sure to visit the GrowNYC Blog or the NYS DEC Holiday Season page for even more tips and other useful information on making any holiday season more sustainable.


Recycle and Reuse

If you are getting ready to clear out any excess from your closet or home, try to find new homes for unwanted items through clothing collections, coat drives, swapping events, holiday toy drives, or donating collections. You can use our refashionNYC bin in the Boylan Hall cafeteria; refashionNYC is New York’s official clothing reuse program.


Decorate a plant or tree that you can plant outside or use indoor year-round. Use LED holiday lights and candles, or choose rechargeable batteries.

Sending Cards

Send e-cards or look for greeting cards made from recycled, or post-consumer materials.

Giving Gifts

Shop with reusable bags, choose minimally packaged items made with or from recycled materials, and consider giving experiences or homemade or vintage gifts. Remember to wrap your gift using old newspaper, paper gift wrap, paper gift bags, or reusable bags and containers.

Make holiday crafts, cards, or cookies to send or deliver to family, friends, and neighbors. Give classic toys such as blocks, crayons, etc.

Preparing a Holiday Meal

Look for items in recyclable packaging and buy minimally or nonpackaged fresh produce. Compost your food scraps. Serve your meals with reusable plates and offer your guests reusable flatware, glassware, and napkins. When possible, use recyclable aluminum foil rather than plastic wrap for storage.

Cleaning Up

Remember that wrapping paper, gift boxes, cardboard, and other paper packaging can go with the paper recycling. Eggnog cartons, wine bottles, olive containers, cookie tins, and hard-to-open rigid plastic packaging are easy to recycle alongside the rest of your metal, glass, plastic, and cartons. If you need to sort your recyclables, download our useful guides.

Too Many Leftovers

Save takeout containers to send guests home with another helping of food. Check the shelf life of open and unopened food and get store-smart to make the most of space, food, and create less waste.

Post-Holiday Recycling

Recycle Your Tree

If you were putting up a real tree for the holidays last year, you would have been able to chip it at Mulchfest! More than 28,000 trees were collected and recycled into mulch for New York City parks at designated sites last January.

Visit the DSNY visit to learn about Christmas tree disposal this season. In the past, trees are chipped, mixed with leaves, and recycled into rich compost for New York City’s parks, institutions, and community gardens.

Artificial trees in good condition can be donated or sold at donateNYC. Otherwise set out your artificial tree as garbage on regular collection day(s) make sure you remove all lights, ornaments, and tinsel. If possible take apart your tree to recycle the base and pole with the metal, glass, plastic, and carton items.

Recycle Unwanted Electronics

When upgrading or unloading electronics, consider recycling your old items.

Release Your Drawers

Clear out outdated and otherwise unwanted clothing, shoes, and other items. Find a way to donate them through donateNYC. Textiles can be dropped off weekly at different locations, including our refashionNYC bin located in the Boylan Hall cafeteria (closed due to Coronavirus restrictions).

Swap Your Stuff

Bring reusable items to share or simply bring a tote bag or two to take home things you can put to reuse at any Stop ‘N’ Swap event (due to Coronavirus requirements this program is cancel at this time).

Brooklyn. All in.