For many of us, Christmas is one of the most beautiful times of the year. But when it comes to throwing away all those decorations, old toys, and wrapping paper scraps, the days after Christmas can get a little ugly.
As a stark visual reminder of that, a thread on Reddit’s popular r/Anticonsumption forum after last year’s holiday season showed what happens to all the holiday lights that get strung up on New York City’s trees after the season has come and gone.
“In NYC they just cut the lights off of trees after the holidays and (I assume) throw them away,” the Redditor writes.
It’s not quite clear if the lights are put up — or cut down — by the city or by private building management companies, but what is clear is that they are at least often not reused year to year, generating incredible and unnecessary waste.
“Private building owners and business districts hire one of the Christmas companies in NYC to light the trees in front of their buildings and the labor cost to take them off properly to reuse would remove any profit,” writes one commenter.
“Ah economics…” replies another. “What a sad reality you bring us. When it’s cheaper to buy new than to remove/store, then this is going to happen at most organizations.”
Another commenter chimes in with a story about a related topic: people throwing away their Christmas trees with all the decorations still on them.
“I live in NYC near a park that collects Christmas Trees after the holidays and turns them into mulch for the park,” they write. “Every year without fail, I see people throw their ENTIRE tree into the collection area – complete with lights, ornaments, and the tree stand!! Like, WHY??”
“First, it’s incredibly rude because now someone who works for the park will have to take everything off themselves,” the commenter continues. “Second, do people really buy new Christmas decorations every year?? It’s so upsetting and also baffling!”
“Man, that sucks. Some people are so wasteful,” replies another. “The height of laziness, entitlement, and zero consideration for anything or anyone.”
If you’re looking for tips about how to safely and responsibly dispose of your tree, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered with the best way to do it.
Join our free newsletter for cool news and actionable info that makes it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.