As your kids send letters to Santa and you create a “Wish List” on Amazon, let’s not forget about our environment. Santa keeps a “recycling” wish list, and here are the hot items:
1. Cardboard Boxes
With the rapid growth of online shopping, packages arrive for gift-giving, and you’re left with piles of cardboard boxes waiting to be recycled. Boxes should be emptied and flattened before recycling. As a “green” bonus, save the Styrofoam, packing peanuts, inflated bags and bubble wrap for your own shipping needs.
2. Newspapers with Inserts
Throughout the holiday shopping season, newspapers tend to “grow” with the addition of sales inserts and advertisements. Try reusing newspapers as packing cushion when sending packages or as an alternative for wrapping paper. Regardless, make sure to recycle the newspaper at the end of its useful life.
3. Beverage Bottles & Cans
From family gatherings to office parties, we’re bound to have some fun this holiday season. When hosting parties, make sure your guests have convenient recycling options for empty bottles and cans. For optimum success, place a recycling container next to the garbage can.
4. Mail, Cards & Catalogs
The US Postal Service will deliver 15.8 billion cards, letters and packages from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Imagine how many trees would be saved by recycling these items. Envelopes (with and without windows), greeting cards, postcards and catalogs are all acceptable in recycling programs. For cards, make sure it is paper-only, and not the kind that play music or have non-paper accessories attached. You can also reuse the front of cards as name tags on gifts. For catalogs, remove from plastic wrapping before recycling. Place the plastic in the trash.
5. Food Boxes and Cans
As you prepare your holiday feasts, take a look at the leftover packaging. You will mostly find paperboard boxes, plastic wrap and steel cans. Recycle the boxes and cans, while trashing the plastic wrap.
Santa’s Naughty List
(Common Holiday Items Not Acceptable for Curbside or Drop-off Box Recycling)
- Bows and ribbon
- Plastic packing materials (i.e. Styrofoam, bubble wrap, inflated bags, peanuts)
- Plastic bags – many grocery stores accept these for recycling
- Plastic packaging on toys and other products
- Old plastic decorations
What about Wrapping Paper?
Rumpke accepts wrapping paper for recycling with the following guidelines:
- Make sure it is the paper-style, not foil-style
- Remove all bows, ribbons, tape and tags
Wrapping paper is typically a low-grade of paper, often manufactured with recycled paper. If the bows, ribbons, tape and tags are not removed, an entire load of paper might be rejected by a paper mill and sent to a landfill. The same can happen if the foil-style wrapping gets mixed with regular paper.
Other Green Holiday Ideas
- Compost old trees and wreaths
- Reuse gift boxes and bags
- Donate old toys and clothing
Check your local recycling buy-back center for possible recycling options for strands of holiday lights
Do you have other holiday recycling tips? Share them with us on Twitter and Facebook.
About the author: Jonathan Kissell is the senior communication coordinator for Rumpke.