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After Kris Kringle has come and gone, the items have been opened, and the turkey has been eaten, I’ll wager that a lot of you end up considering … now what?
After the vacation ends, the Christmas cleanup begins. How do you get rid of the wrapping paper, decorations, and different vacation trappings in an environmentally pleasant manner? We’re right here to interrupt it down for you, from the smallest present field to the tree itself.
Despite the identify, wrapping paper isn’t all the time a paper product. Metallic-looking wrapping paper is usually made with mylar (a polyester movie) or foil, whereas shiny wrapping paper is made with a skinny, shiny plastic coating — each of those seemingly render the wrapping unrecyclable. The similar goes for sparkles and glitter.
One possibility for coping with all of the wrapping paper is to save lots of and reuse it. This works finest if you happen to take away the paper in a single piece, however if you happen to’re extra of a rip ‘n’ tear kind, you may nonetheless maintain wrapping paper scraps to make use of as present tags or for wrapping small items.
If your used-paper stash is overflowing and also you would wish to get rid of it, use Earth911’s helpful Recycling Search to search out out if wrapping paper might be recycled in your metropolis or city. Simply kind “wrapping paper” into the search bar, and full the shape along with your ZIP code. You ought to get outcomes that point out the place your municipality prefers you dispose of those festive wrappings.
Gift Boxes and Gift Bags
Most present packing containers are cardboard, which many recycling packages will settle for. Gift luggage, alternatively, are virtually all the time shiny or shiny. Like shiny and glossy wrapping paper, they’re seemingly not recyclable. But the benefit of each present luggage and packing containers is that they’re reusable. I by no means should buy a brand new present bag or field; I simply reuse those I’ve obtained.
However, if they’ve gotten broken to the purpose you don’t wish to use them once more, take a look at our Recycling Search for places the place you may recycle gift boxes and gift bags. Be positive so as to add your ZIP code to the search type to get native outcomes.
Ribbons and Bows
I completely adore individuals who use material ribbons and bows to embellish items they offer me — it permits me so as to add to my ribbon stash and use them to gussy up my items to others! There’s actually no purpose to throw out material ribbon; if you happen to don’t need it (and why on earth wouldn’t you?), I’m positive yow will discover somebody near you who does.
I additionally counsel conserving and reusing plastic ribbons and bows, however for a wholly completely different purpose. These cheap adornments can’t be recycled, and if you happen to don’t plan to maintain or reuse them, they should be thrown out. One extra purpose to put money into some thick material ribbon, or just keep away from it altogether!
Despite making an attempt to scale back paper use each time I can, I nonetheless actually get pleasure from sending and receiving paper playing cards within the mail. Something about it simply feels extremely joyful and festive. I attempt to purchase playing cards fabricated from recycled paper each time attainable. Cards with recycled content material scale back the demand for virgin fiber — saving trees, energy, water, and producing much less waste. And by buying merchandise made with recycled content material, you reveal to companies that there’s a demand for sustainably made merchandise, which inspires extra companies to observe swimsuit.
As for the vacation playing cards I’m fortunate sufficient to obtain, after displaying them for the Yuletide season, I wish to rigorously lower off the entrance of the cardboard and use them for present tags for subsequent 12 months’s presents. I recycle the written-on again portion of the cardboard and be ok with lowering my recycling by 50%. An added bonus of reusing my playing cards like that is that I by no means should shell out for brand-new present tags!
If you occur to obtain a card that’s constituted of 100% paper with no sparkles or shiny bits, it must be recyclable. However, since most vacation playing cards have a shiny plastic coating, metallic glints, or glittery sparkles, you in all probability can’t recycle them. But listed here are some extra concepts for upcycling Christmas cards.
There’s a wealthy custom of debating whether or not it’s higher for the setting to get an actual tree yearly or purchase one synthetic one to reuse for a lifetime. Digging into that debate itself is a subject for an additional put up (take a look at Real vs. Artificial Christmas Trees), however I’m firmly within the “real tree” camp.
After you’ve eliminated all of the ornaments — that features these strands of plastic “tinsel” — and punctiliously packed the angel away for an additional 12 months, don’t toss that tree within the rubbish! Many cities have tree recycling packages that flip your outdated Christmas tree into mulch or compost. This is one other time to make the most of our Recycling Search to search out out whether or not your metropolis participates in a program like this.
Do take be aware that recycling your tree is time-sensitive. Most cities supply recycling companies throughout a set time interval solely. Just another reason to not postpone post-Christmas cleanup and prepare to welcome the brand new 12 months with a contemporary slate!
Editor’s be aware: Originally revealed on December 26, 2016, this text was up to date in December 2021.