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Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Merry Festivus to all.

Amid all of the excitement of ripping apart your gifts and counting your blessings, I hope you will take the time to consider the impact we are making on our environment — and then reduce that impact.

There are a number of packaging items that can be recycled. To begin with, wrapping paper can be recycled. Specifically, the paper type. Cardboard, both corrugated and flat, can go in recycling, too, as can the #1 and #2 plastic inserts in toy and other packaging materials. As far as I know, styrofoam is not accepted for recycling.

For those of you replacing electronics of all kinds, Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties fortunately take old electronics for “e-cycling.” Heavy metals used in electronics contaminate groundwater, and ultimately our drinking water, which is so precious in Southern Maryland. We are blessed to have this program available to our region.

Cellphones can be recycled or donated. Imagine that your old phone might be usable by someone some day during an emergency. A number of local business and phone providers will accept your old cellphones for that purpose.

I recently learned that all three counties accept fluorescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs, too. This was quite a surprise. Treat them gently on the way to your nearby recycling center.

Batteries, including rechargeable ones, are recyclable. Batteries are often required for our gifts. I enjoy the use of rechargeable batteries. Since they are expensive, I have decided to buy 10 to 20 percent of my batteries as rechargables. This way, I will eventually own enough to never buy regular batteries again. They are good for hundreds of uses, and their ultimate cost is a fraction of nonrechargeables. They came in handy during Hurricane Sandy; I just had to make sure they were charged ahead of time. Incidentally, rechargeables from power tools and cellphones can also be recycled.

For those of you who are blessed to be involved with cooking for your families and friends, there are plenty of ingredient leftovers (such as apple cores) that can be composted. Some of your table scraps can be composted as well.

Finally, your beautiful Christmas tree and wreaths, I believe, can be recycled. Stay alert for announcements in the newspaper regarding this great service. I don't believe Festivus poles can be recycled, and I am not sure if the counties are going to expand to that service.

Many of these items are acceptable for curbside recycling. Some must be taken to the recycling centers.

Here are the sites for your counties’ recycling information: In St. Mary’s, www.co.saint-marys.md.us/dpw/recycleprogramslist.asp. In Charles, www.charlescountymd.gov/pw/environmental/residential-materials-accepted-recycling-centers. In Calvert, www.co.cal.md.us/index.aspx?NID=1324.

Warmest regards and Merry Christmas.

David Kanter, Hughesville

The writer is vice chair of the Sierra Club Southern Maryland Group.