Recycling During the Holidays
No matter the size of your holiday gatherings this year, you’ll probably be going through a lot of paper products and plastic. As presents and letters make their way to family and friends via mail and package delivery, it’s time to make a plan on how to keep your holidays sustainable and recycle packaging waste the right way.
If you’re mailing out Christmas cards or wrapping up presents to ship across the country, consider the materials used to wrap your gifts, construct your Christmas cards, and keep your holiday gifts safe on their journey to your loved ones.
Consider reducing the amount of plastic wrap or wrapping paper when shipping out presents. Opening up a cardboard box may seem less festive than ripping through wrapping paper, but you can save a lot of paper by holding back on the double-wrapped packages this year.
Or if you want to keep things festive, consider alternative materials when wrapping your gifts. Instead of buying new wrapping paper, use a recycled alternative, or wrap your gift in some newspaper and ribbon to give your gift a more eclectic presentation.
Eco-conscious Christmas Cards
One of the easiest ways to be more sustainable for the holidays is by opting for recycled paper Christmas cards. Save a tree or two by printing your family photo or message onto a card made of recycled paper.
You can also make your holiday cards more magical and memorable by printing them on recycled wildflower seed paper. These special cards contain wildflower seeds and are a great way to inspire new gardeners or bring some color into your loved ones’ homes. All you need to do is plant the card in some soil, water it, and gorgeous flowers will be blooming in no time!
Reduce Food Waste
It may seem like a no-brainer, but if your gathering is smaller this year, consider smaller portion sizes for your meals. A table full of turkey and tasty side dishes may be a holiday tradition, but sticking to serving sizes that fit your gathering is a surefire way to reduce or eliminate food waste.
If you do end up with more leftovers than you know what to do with, try freezing them for future use, compost the scraps that can’t be salvaged and research new recipes that incorporate some of your leftover sides.
Recognize the Recyclables
Finally, be familiar with what materials can be recycled and what can’t. As always, online shopping and deliveries are some of the most convenient. But knowing how to properly handle shipping and packaging materials can help you be a little more sustainable this year.
Quick Tips on Holiday Packaging Recycling
- Cardboard boxes should be flattened and recycled.
- Packing peanuts and foam are not to be put in the recycling bin. Some communities offer foam recycling drop-offs, so be sure to check if there are any local options before you toss that foam in the trash.
- Plastic bags, bubble wrap, and other stretchy plastic films are often not accepted in curbside recycling programs, but some communities may accept them or have separate plastic recycling facilities. Research what is available around you and plan your drop-offs accordingly.
- One more thing to consider: when it’s time to retire your Christmas lights, do not recycle them! Every year thousands of light strands wreak havoc in recycling centers as they tangle around equipment and create hazards for employees.
We hope you stay happy and healthy this holiday season, and we encourage you to do your part in giving back to mother nature with sustainable practices this year!