This article has been adapted from Wilton Go Green‘s winter newsletter. For more information, visit their website or sign up for their newsletter

After holiday gift-giving, think about giving a gift to Mother Earth that benefits all. With a little effort and imagination, you can follow the season and reduce the additional 5 billion pounds of landfill-bound waste generated during the holidays.

Even “green” celebrations create trash, much of which can be recycled at the Wilton Transfer Station. Minimize holiday waste by flattening cardboard shipping and gift boxes then recycling them along with wrapping paper and cards (even those with metallic finishes). Remove and save ribbons and bows for reuse, and collect giftwrap in paper — not plastic — bags. Even molded plastic inserts used in packaging can be recycled alongside milk bottles and yogurt containers.

The Transfer Station accepts a surprising variety of items:  clothes and shoes, computers, printers and monitors, mattresses, furniture, televisions, batteries, appliances, small plastic children’s toys that are no longer usable, tires, scrap metal, CFL bulbs, fluorescent light tubes — even Christmas trees, which it chips and uses for mulch.

In fact, there’s little that can’t be recycled or reused in town. Old eyeglasses or cell phones cluttering up your drawer? The Wilton Library gladly accepts them at the circulation desk. The library also welcomes book donations; simply leave yours in the gray collection bins located by the drive-thru window on Godfrey Pl..

Bring un-popped bubble wrap and foam packing peanuts that would otherwise become landfill to the UPS Store in Wilton Center. (Deliver them in bags, not cardboard boxes.) Better yet, give up cycled gifts from your home, or check out the Wilton CT Tag Sale page on Facebook for great local finds. Plan ahead by purchasing home furnishings, bicycles, clothes and a wealth of other gently used goods at bargain prices at Wilton’s bi-annual Minks to Sinks Sale — or consign some of your own.

When tidying up after the holidays, clean out the medicine cabinet, too. Proper disposal of expired or unused prescription and over-the-counter medications minimizes their potentially dangerous effects on the environment and wildlife. The Wilton Police safely dispose of unwanted medicine free of charge; collection bins are available in the department lobby (liquid and sharps are not accepted).

Wilton’s recycling initiatives will continue to expand in the months ahead, making it easier than ever to do your part to preserve and protect our environment. And Wilton Go Green will be supporting the town every step of the way by exploring options for instituting recycling in Wilton Center and at our sports recreation facilities.

Daily Changes

By making simple changes to the actions we take daily, each of us can help turn the tide of climate change and protect the Earth for generations to come. Living a greener lifestyle not only protects our natural resources, but saves money as well. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Natural Resources Help the trees remain in the forest and out of the paper mill by purchasing e-books or secondhand print editions. Book shopping online also saves time and money, but if you’re not finding the title you want or simply enjoy perusing shelves full of mysteries, poetry, historical fiction and biographies, there’s no better place than the Wilton Library.

Building Programmable thermostats automatically lower the temperature setting at night or during unoccupied periods throughout the day, raising them again in the morning or during times when you’re typically home. A ten-degree reduction at night will save approximately five to 15 percent on annual heating costs.

Food Cook at home! Preparing homemade soups, stews and other hearty winter meals is more economical and consumes fewer resources than dining out. And processed or pre-made food can generate unnecessary waste: it gets packaged in plastic and cardboard, then trucked to local supermarkets. Besides, what’s cozier than a home-cooked meal?

For more tips on how you can create a healthier, more sustainable home and community, click here.