The unwrapping has wrapped up, and all across the city, apartments are overflowing with fabulous new toys, clothes, and electronics. And yet there’s a feeling of unease coming from somewhere: the pile of old toys, clothes, and electronics sitting forlornly next to the door. Recycling them takes a little extra legwork, but it’s all doable. Start by dragging the electronics (including Game Boys, Xboxes, computers, cables, DVD players, radios, even CDs) to the Lower East Side Ecology Center’s fifth annual After the Holidays event, on January 6 in Union Square Park. “Last year, we had over 1,000 people come,” says Christine Datz-Romero, executive director. “We collected so much stuff it was unbelievable.” Don’t worry about computer data; the group wipes hard drives clean to Department of Defense standards. They don’t take old toys, but those in playable condition will likely be accepted by Housing Works or the Salvation Army, or can be given away through Freecycle.com and Craigslist. Another option: “donate” them to a local playground. Though some parents (ahem) don’t particularly like it when their kids play with germy activity centers instead of getting on the swings, a Parks Department spokesperson says the city welcomes old toys (something about “imagination”). Finally, there are two ways to ditch that Christmas tree. You can haul it to the city-run MulchFest (January 5 and 6), where you can leave it behind to become compost for city parks or take home your pile of chips for the yard or houseplants. Or, if that’s too onerous, you can at least prep it for curbside pickup from January 3 to 16. (If you remove all lights, ornaments, stands, and bags, it’ll be mulched; otherwise, it gets landfilled.) Pile purged, resume watching the tots enjoy their new loot, guilt-free. Until next year.
1/6, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lower East Side Ecology Center’s collection drive, Union Square Park, North Plaza, Broadway and E. 17th St. (212-477-4022 or lesecologycenter.org); free.
1/5 and 1/6, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. MulchFest, multiple locations (311 or nycgovparks.org/services/mulchfest); free.