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​Post-Christmas Recycling: An Eco-Friendly Guide

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​Post-Christmas Recycling: An Eco-Friendly Guide

Post-Christmas Recycling: An Eco-Friendly Guide

The holiday season, with its joy, celebrations, and gifts, also brings a significant increase in waste. The period between Thanksgiving and New Year's sees a 25% surge in waste generation. However, with a bit of thought and planning, we can make our festive celebrations more environmentally friendly. This guide aims to provide useful tips on how to recycle effectively post-Christmas.

1. Wrapping Paper Recycling

1.1 Understanding Wrapping Paper Types

Wrapping paper, a staple of the holiday season, is categorised into three types:

  1. Glittery, foil-inlaid paper, typically used for holiday celebrations

  2. Fully printed paper, without foil or glitter

  3. Plain, unprinted paper in Kraft or white colours

1.2 Recycling Guidelines

Most wrapping paper can be recycled, but the process depends on the type of paper used. If the paper includes glitter or foil elements, it is usually not recyclable. Plain Kraft packaging paper, however, is 100% recyclable and compostable.

1.3 Post-Holiday Recycling Tips

After the holiday season, separate wrapping paper into three categories for effective recycling:

  • Reusable paper for future gift wrapping or arts and crafts

  • Paper without glitter or foil - typically recyclable

  • Paper with metallic elements or extreme shininess

Remember to remove bows, ribbons, and excessive tape before recycling.

2. Gift Bags and Ribbons

2.1 Reusable Gift Bags

Gift bags are an excellent alternative to gift wrap. They are easy to use and often reusable. Shiny, foil-lined gift bags are not typically recyclable, but they can be reused.

2.2 Recycling Gift Bags

When recycling gift bags, separate them into three categories:

  • Reusable gift bags

  • Paper-made gift bags

  • Gift bags with plastic or metallic additions

2.3 Ribbons and Bows

Traditional ribbons and bows, usually made of polyester or nylon, are not recyclable. However, they can be saved and reused for future gift wrapping. If reuse is not an option, they should be disposed of in the landfill.

3. Holiday Cards Recycling

Americans send 2.65 billion Christmas cards annually, creating a significant amount of potential waste. To recycle holiday cards, avoid cards with foil, glitter, or shiny additions. If reuse isn’t an option, recycle all other cards and landfill cards with these additions.

4. Tissue Paper Recycling

Tissue paper, widely used for gift wrapping during Christmas, can be recycled or composted. However, the paper should not contain foil, plastic, glitter, or excessive ink. If possible, reuse the tissue paper before recycling it.

5. Cardboard and Corrugated Boxes

The holiday season sees a surge in cardboard boxes due to online shopping. When recycling these boxes, remove internal components such as foam and filling. Flatten the boxes and drop them in curbside recycling.

6. Reusing Outdated Tech

If you received upgraded gadgets as holiday gifts, consider repurposing the old ones instead of tossing them out. Old computers can serve as WiFi hotspots, and outdated smartphones can be transformed into portable entertainment centres or emergency backup phones.

7. Donating or Selling Old Tech

Old tech devices can be sold or donated to charities. Platforms like Best Buy offer gift cards in exchange for old devices. Donating old tech to charities like Cell Phones for Soldiers or Secure the Call can help those in need.

8. Christmas Decorations Recycling

Christmas decorations, including fairy lights, baubles, tinsel, and Christmas trees, can be recycled or repurposed with a bit of creativity and planning. For instance, old fairy lights can be recycled at a local electronic recycling drop-off, and used Christmas trees can be turned into wildlife sanctuaries or composted.

9. Food Waste Reduction

The holiday season often leads to substantial food waste. To mitigate this, have extra zip-lock bags or reusable containers for guests to take leftovers home. Additionally, consider composting uneaten food, transforming leftover items into fresh meals, and searching online for creative recipes using holiday leftovers.

10. Sustainable Shopping

While shopping for holiday gifts, consider choosing brands that use recycled materials in their products. Also, carry your shopping bags to reduce the usage of plastic bags.

11. Responsible Disposal of Electronics

If your old tech devices need to be thrown out, dispose of them responsibly by taking them to a local electronic recycling drop-off. This prevents electronic waste, or e-waste, from harming the environment.

12. Local Recycling Day

Keep in mind that the holidays may alter the days your town or city collects trash and recyclables. Check your local recycling program's website to ensure you put your cart out on the correct day.

By implementing these eco-friendly practices, we can contribute to a more sustainable planet while still enjoying the festive season. Remember, every small effort towards reducing waste and encouraging recycling counts. Celebrate the holidays responsibly and ensure a greener future for us all.