Holiday Sustainability Tips!


Happy Holidays from all of us at the Office of Sustainability!

Here are some helpful tips for having a green holiday season this year (and also some gift ideas)!

What should I do with my real wreath when I’m done with it?

  1. Reuse the wire! Real wreaths are held together using wire, which you are able to unwind from the wreath frame. Put it around a spool to use for craft projects or making next year’s wreath
  2. Recycle the metal frame! If the wreath frame is uncoated, it can go right into the recycling bin.
  3. Compost the branches! Any real plant can be composted, including wreath branches.
  4. Or if you want the easy way to be sustainable… Bring it to the BC Grounds Shop (M Building) between January 7th-11th, 9:30 am to 11:30 am to have your wreath composted and recycled right here on campus!wreath

What should I do with my old artificial tree and wreath?

If your artificial tree or wreath is about ready to move on, we know exactly what you can do! Fake trees and wreaths cannot be recycled, but there are ways to keep them out of the landfill by re-purposing it the right way.

  • Donate your tree or wreath! Find a non-profit organization or local business that would love to use the tree during the holiday season.



What should I do with my old holiday lights?

When your lights just don’t seem to work like they used to, don’t throw them in the trash…recycle them through a designated facility! And remember…choose LED for long lasting and energy efficient lights that are environmentally responsible and won’t jack up your energy bill.

  • Mail them: You can mail in your lights using mailing programs such as…
    • Christmas Light Source:

  • Holiday LED:




  • Drop them off: You can drop off your lights with Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium partnering with Girl Scouts of Western Washington from now through January 12th! Check out and scroll to the bottom of the page to select “Recycle your Lights” for instructions and additional drop off locations

What should I use to wrap my presents?

Buying new wrapping paper that just gets thrown away as soon as a gift is opened, means it ends up in the landfill! Regular wrapping paper isn’t always recyclable, so re-purpose materials or use something reusable that can wrap presents year after year! Here are some great alternatives:

  • Newspaper and paper bags
  • Old maps and calendars
  • Fabric
  • Reusable gift bags
  • Recycled paper gift wrap
  • Old comic books (make sure they aren’t worth anything!)

comic paper

I am looking for sustainable gifts!

There are plenty of really cool gifts that are unique, environmentally and socially responsible. Check out some of the Office of Sustainability’s favorite ideas.

  • Jewelry made out of recycled auto glass! There are many different kinds of re-purposed jewelry, one of them being jewelry made out of glass from car break-ins. What a great way to take a bad situation and turn it into art!
  • Reusable food wrap! Instead of using plastic bags and plastic wrap to store lunch and seal meals, give the gift of reusable storage! The reusable bags you’ll find are made with beeswax and can be washed and reused.
  • Reusable metal or glass straws! Plastic straws end up in the landfill or the environment and pose a very big problem for wildlife, especially marine creatures. Give the gift of a reusable straw to help minimize the environmental impact on our sea life! You can find many different kinds of reusable straws, even collapsing straws that come with their own case.


Think sustainably this holiday season, by composting and recycling at home, and finding reusable alternatives wherever possible!

We hope you enjoy the holiday season and your winter break!

Last Updated December 17, 2018