This year, lighten your holiday celebrations by reducing waste and recycling right. Check your local recycling provider’s list of accepted items. Use the following tips as you prepare for the season’s festivities, and clean-up afterwards.
- Cardboard Boxes: Do recycle! Flatten boxes to save space and remove loose tape.
- Holiday Cards: Do not include cards with glittery, metallic, or foil elements. Do include all others.
- Wrapping Paper: Do not include metallic, glittery, or foil-lined papers. Do include other wrapping papers by folding into flat sheets before recycling.
- Tissue Paper: Do not include. Save tissue paper in good condition to reuse next year.
- Gift Bags: Do not include glittery, metallic, or foil-lined bags. Save gift bags in good condition to reuse next year.
- String Lights: Do not include. Check with your local recycling coordinator for special string lights recycling programs.
- Ribbons & Bows: Do not include. They get tangled around recycling machinery and contaminate other materials.
- Foam Packaging or Packing Peanuts: Do not include. These items need to be disposed of in your trash bin.
- Plastic Shipping Envelopes: Do not include. Some plastic shipping envelopes can be recycled at Return-to-Retail drop-off programs.
- Tree Netting: Do not include. Tree netting is often used to wrap holiday trees or to protect shrubs and bushes.
- Tree netting should be kept for reuse or put in the garbage. Do not include this material in recycling bins because it can get wrapped around recycling equipment and create jams. Be sure any tree netting you have is not capable of blowing away and becoming litter.
Holiday Waste Reduction Tips
- Choose wrapping paper, cards, and gifts made with recycled content.
- Gift personal belongings that you no longer use.
- Wrap gifts with newspaper and pages from old magazines.
- Do you have a special skill or craft? Instead of purchasing a new gift, offer a family member or friend the gift of assisting with a project or repairing a beloved item.
- Opt for reusable gift bags and wraps instead of single-use wrapping paper.
- Gift experiences or services instead of things or connect with Buy Nothing groups.
- Buy used and local to support your community’s economy, and check out materials exchange groups on social media.
- Teach your family and friends how to recycle right during cleanup. Offer prizes for correct answers.
Gift Giving with Less Waste
Reduce waste even further this holiday season by thinking about how to make the entire part of a gift (packaging, gift container, decoration) useful to the recipient. You can use a:
- pair of mittens to hold hand warmers or sweet candy treats;
- bike helmet to hold new bike lights and other bike accessories;
- mixing bowl to hold baking supplies;
- toolbelt or toolbox for hardware items and tools;
- flower pot to hold gardening tools, seeds, or bulbs;
- storage bin to accompany a toy;
- reusable laundry bag or hamper for a unique way to gift clothes; or
- lunchbox for a zero waste lunch kit.