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Two Fun Ways to Cut Waste This Holiday Season

We love a festive holiday season, and even though gift giving is part of the celebrations, we still have a responsibility to recycle.  

Americans throw away 25% more trash during the holiday period (from Thanksgiving to New Year's) than any other time of the year. Between décor, disposable plates, cutlery, holiday cards, wrapping paper, bags, boxes and mailers, there’s really a lot of waste.  

To help cut the holiday waste, here are a few things you can do to continue minimizing your total waste impact.  

First, let's tackle wrapping paper.  

When buying gift wrapping supplies, we generally see three categories of single use wrapping paper: 

  • Glittery or foil inlaid/shiny paper 
  • Printed wrapping paper 
  • Plain unprinted paper - white or kraft 

While pretty designs and glitter are always more appealing, the most recyclable option is…you guessed it – plain unprinted paper. There’s also the option of buying paper already labeled “recyclable”, but the best way to go is borrowing a gift-wrapping tip from the Japanese culture. In Japan, gifts are wrapped in multi-functional cloths! Even though the cloths are used to wrap gifts, recipients can then take the cloth and use it for something else! 

The second way to lower holiday waste is skipping the wrapping paper and boxes altogether. Instead, opt for gift bags!  

Even if the gift bag can’t be recycled, they can almost always be reused! All you have to do is let your friends and family know to save the bag or bring them back to you after they would have opened their holiday gifts.  

Again, the fancier the bags or the paper, the less recyclable it becomes. 


Recycling bin: 

  • Cardboard and paper boxes  
  • Plain wrapping paper  
  • Plain paper gift bags 
  • Plain holiday cards and envelopes  

Garbage can: 

  • Plastic bubble wrap, air pillows and foam packaging 
  • Ribbons and bows  
  • Gift bags or wrapping paper that is anything other than plain 

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