Go green this holiday season

Thursday, December 13, 2007 | 10:08 a.m. CST; updated 11:46 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Q. What can I give to my eco-friendly pals this year?

A. Donate a part of the rainforest and dedicate it to a friend or relative by visiting or Or, have a star named after a special someone at

Q. I scored LED lights, so what should I do with my old ones?

A. Recycle them. From now until Thursday, will accept incandescent lights by mail. If you don’t want to mess with mailing them in, you can remove the plastic outer layer and use the leftovers as twist ties. Remove the lights and let children use the string to make necklaces. Or create a useful night light by twisting into a shape of your choice.

Q. I don’t want my tree to end up in a landfill. What can I do?

A. Give yours a shot at a second use. Free your tree of tinsel, ornaments and the tree stand and Columbia Public Works will collect it from your curbside for recycling from Dec. 26 until the end of January. From February on, trees will have to be chopped into 4-foot lengths and bundled in order to be collected.

Christmas trees can also be dropped off at the Capen Park Mulch Site (south of Stadium Boulevard, off Rock Quarry Road) and the Parkside Mulch Site (north of Memorial Park Cemetery, off Creasy Springs Road).

Some trees will serve as shelter for wild life and fisheries habitats. The rest will be used for soil conservation. For more information, call the Public Works Solid Waste Division at 874-6291 or e-mail

Q. Should I just toss leftover electronics I don’t use or need?

A. No. Electronics can be recycled. Many Columbia stores accept old computer equipment, CDs, cell phones, televisions, batteries and smoke detectors. Check out for a list of locations.

Q. My wrapping paper is too tattered for re-use.

A. Run it through a paper shredder to create colorful packing material for relatives waiting on shipped gifts.

Q. What can I do with all my post-holiday packing material?

A. Take packing peanuts, bubble wrap and brown paper to The UPS Store. Place your cardboard in a box made of the same at curbside for recycling pick-up.

Go to for a list of locations where you can drop off cardboard and other recyclable materials, such as books, hangers, pet supplies, sports equipment, tires and more.

Log on to Columbia’s “Freecycle” Yahoo page for pages of free items and tips on recycling locally.

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