Pandemic or not, you know you're gonna get your fair share of gifts this holiday season. Sweaters, ties, books, you know the drill. And because it's just plain rude to give an unwrapped gift, you're soon going to be awash in a sea of multicolored, tinny wrapping paper and cardboard boxes.
Do the planet a solid. Dismiss the primal urge to dump all that trash in a plastic bag and get on with your day. The holiday season is the time to think green.
“Typically, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day we see about a 25 percent increase in volume or about 1,000 pounds of extra waste per household,” Jeremy Walters, sustainability ambassador for Republic Services, an industry leader in U.S. recycling and non-hazardous waste, recently told NBC News. “The good news, though, is that about 80 percent of it can actually be reused, re-purposed or recycled."
Kreigh Hampel, of the Burbank Recycling Center, recently spoke with NBCLX and explained while items like cardboard remain easily recyclable, those pesky white peanuts are just a pain in the rear.
"Packing peanuts are just a real problem because they blow, stick, scatter and crumble. Sometime if you have local mailbox mailing services where they ship and mail sometimes they just throw those back in the hopper and they'll use those again," Hampel said.
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Unclear on what's safe to trash and what should be recycled? Here's a handy cheat sheet.
What Not To Put in Your Recycling Bin
- Bubble wrap
- Plastic bags (try recycling shopping bags at your local grocery store)
- Christmas lights
- Food packaging and waste
- Clothing and shoes
- Holiday lights
- Foam packaging
Recycling Bin Eligible:
- Cardboard and paper boxes for gifts and shoes
- Wrapping paper that’s plain (sans glitter and embellishments)
- Plain paper gift bags
- Holiday cards and envelopes that don’t have embellishments like glitter and glued on decorations
- Sticky gift tags are not recyclable by themselves, but they are acceptable if affixed to an envelope or wrapping paper
Dump it in the Garbage Can:
- Plastic bubble wrap, air pillows and all types of foam packaging
- Ribbons and bows because the material and size are not suitable for recycling
- Gift bags that are laminated, coated, dyed or glittered
- Cellophane wrap