Local options for post-Christmas cleanup abound - Albuquerque Journal

Local options for post-Christmas cleanup abound

Cathryn Cunningham/Albuquerque Journal

Most of us have a tried-and-true routine when it comes to taking down the tree, boxing up lights and ornaments and dealing with the packaging that accumulates once Christmas presents are opened. Now that the big day is here (and soon to be gone) it’s time to put your post-Christmas cleanup plan into action.

What to do with that Christmas tree

The Solid Waste Management Department, Parks and Recreation, and PNM will recycle real Christmas trees for free at three separate locations in Albuquerque beginning Dec. 26, 2022. No artificial trees will be accepted. PNM vegetation management crews and Parks and Recreation staff will grind trees into mulch chips, which can then be used as mulch to provide a better growing environment for plants and residential landscapes.

Residents can pick up the mulch free of charge while supplies last.

Trees may be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday, Dec. 26, 2022, through Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, at the following locations:

• Eagle Rock Convenience Center, 6301 Eagle Rock NE, (505) 857-8318

• Ladera Golf Course, 3401 Ladera Dr NW, (505) 836-4449

• Montessa Park Convenience Center, 3512 Los Picaros SE, (505) 873-6607, temporarily closed on Thursdays and Fridays

Remove all bags, tree stands, decorations and lights from trees before dropping them off to be mulched. Limit five trees per resident, no commercial customers.

Rio Rancho offers drop-off locations:

• Rio Rancho Sports Complex, 3501 High Resort Blvd. SE, Rio Rancho

• Sandoval County Landfill, 2708 Iris Rd. NE, Rio Rancho (no free mulch at this location)

Los Lunas has offered drop off at their Recycling Center in the past. Call for details, 505-839-5658.

Artificial Christmas trees can be picked up at no charge for Albuquerque Solid Waste Management Department residential customers only. Call 311 to schedule. If the artificial tree is in decent shape, charities and thrift shops may take your donation.

Are gift wrap, gift bags and cards recyclable?

Gift bags that are 100% paper are recyclable. Wrapping paper is not recyclable; dispose in the garbage. Only 100% paper cards can be recycled. If there is glitter, foil, ribbons, or other shiny items on the card, put it in the garbage. Best advice is if you are not sure if it should be recycled, then it belongs in the garbage.

Recycle cardboard boxes

Corrugated cardboard boxes can be recycled if clean and strapping is removed. Tape and staples are OK. Look at your gift boxes; if they’re 100% paper and contain no glitter or foil, they can be recycled.

Boxboard packaging of the type used for cereal, shoes, laundry detergent and paper towel cores is accepted for recycling. Wax or plastic-coated paper is detrimental to the recycling process and is not accepted for recycling. If in doubt, put into the trash.

Styrofoam packing is not recyclable, put it in the garbage.

Packing up Christmas decorations

Take your time and think about organizing for next year. Remember the tangled lights you unpacked? You can make a storage system to avoid tangles. Cut a side of a cardboard box to wrap the lights around. If the string of lights is short, use paper towel or gift wrap tubes to wrap the lights around.

When packing ornaments away, use parts of the cardboard boxes as dividers in your storage boxes. Pack like items together and label the boxes.

If there were items you did not use, consider putting them in your new year’s donation box.

Follow the neighborhood norm for taking down outdoor decorations. Consensus is the weekend after New Year’s Day.

Poinsettia care

According to the Gardening Know How website:

Keep your poinsettia in a nice, warm sunny window (free of drafts). It should receive at least six hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day.

The plant also needs day temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit and slightly cooler at night, though keep it above 60 to avoid leaf drop.

Continue your normal watering routine until spring (or first of April), then allow it to dry gradually. Water again only when the surface of the soil is dry to the touch.

After new growth begins, feed your poinsettia every two weeks at the recommended rate with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer.

Food leftovers

According to Food Safety News, all perishable items should be refrigerated within two hours of coming out of the oven or refrigerator. Freeze or consume within four days.

Returning or exchanging gifts

Most retailers have return periods between 30 and 90 days. Having a gift receipt is helpful, but not necessary for many retailers. If ordered online, companies may include return instructions and a return mailing label with the order.

Keep the tags on the gift in place. If tags are not attached, keep them with the gift for returns. If you cannot find an item for exchange at this time, a gift card may be available.

If all else fails, there are exchanges with family and friends, re-gifting, selling on resale sites or charitable giving.

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