Holiday Clean Up: What's Recyclable?

Holidays have you feeling "trashy?" Find out what common holiday trash items are recyclable with these tips from Domestic CEO.

Amanda Thomas
6-minute read
Episode #91

Are you feeling trashy? I don’t mean the “too much lipstick and short skirt” kind of trashy, I mean the “I have already filled my garbage bin 3 times today” trashy. It’s not surprising. According to the EPA, Americans produce 25% more trash in the time period between Thanksgiving and New Years than they normally do throughout the year. That equates to an extra million tons of garbage!.

If you are looking for ways to help Mother Earth, don’t just start tossing all those bows and wrapping peper in the trash. Take a few moments to separate out the items that are recyclable or reusable, and let’s keep as much from going into the landfills as possible.

Here are some tips and tricks for determining what items in your trash pile can be recycled and given another life:

Recycling Wrapping Paper

In general, most wrapping paper is not recyclable by most city waste departments. While some very basic paper can be put in your recycle bin after you remove the tape, any paper that has glitter, embossments, laminate, or texture is not able to be recycled. In other words, all that fancy, expensive wrapping paper is going to end up in the trash.

If you have a tough time seeing that paper crumpled up and tossed in the garbage, you can recycle it yourself by flattening it to reuse next year. It may not seem like a big deal, but if you can reuse the paper at least once, you’ll be cutting down your wrapping paper trash by 50%. Yes, your kids may make fun of you a little for saving old wrapping paper (I know I mocked my mom as a kid!), but this little step can make a big difference in your trash production this year.

Recycling Tissue Paper

Tissue paper is already made of recycled paper. It’s fibers are already stretched so thin that they aren’t able to be recycled traditionally anymore. If you have gobs of tissue paper floating around your house, consider composting the paper or keeping it to use again in the future. You can make some awesome Halloween decorations (such as these tissue paper ghosts) out of reused tissue paper.

Tissue paper that isn’t already crinkled can easily help package another gift, and crinkly tissue paper can be used to cushion items being sent in the mail.

Recycling Bows and Ribbons

Bows and ribbons are more items that cannot be recycled by most cities. Instead, I recommend you focus on reusing these items as many times as you can before sending them into the trash. Roll up ribbons and secure them with a small piece of tape to use again in the future. Remove the sticky backing from any pretty bows that you can use again, and simply attach them to new gifts using double sided tape in the future. Store both ribbons and bows in a separate, sturdy container to make sure they don’t get smushed by other items, and you’ll always have a pretty accent for your gifts readily available, without spending a dime at the store.


About the Author

Amanda Thomas Domestic CEO

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