How to Dispose of Holiday Packaging

It’s always so exciting to unwrap holiday packaging from loved ones during the holidays. But, there’s one not so exciting side effect: waste. 

During the month of December, there’s more waste from holiday gift packages than any other time of year. While a holiday care package is a wonderful thing to receive, it might not be so great for the planet. 

Luckily, there are tons of ways to wrap gifts this year that take the planet into consideration!

Holiday Packaging Alternatives 

Most shiny gift wrapping isn’t recyclable, but you can choose to wrap the gifts you’re giving with holiday packaging that’s eco-friendly! Learn what alternatives exist to traditional wrapping paper and how to properly get rid of each part for a cleaner, greener holiday. 

Gift Bags 

Did you know most cotton bags can actually biodegrade? Consider using cotton bags to wrap gifts this year. In doing so, you’ll keep wrapping paper out of landfills. 

Plus, it’s super easy to wrap all of your gifts! Just pop open the drawstring bag, slide your gift in, and boom, all set to put under the Christmas tree. 

Scarves & Linens

Give two gifts in one by wrapping your gifts in a square scarf or a linen! There are tons of tutorials online that show exactly how to wrap items in linens so they’re pleasant to unwrap. 

Tea towels, Turkish towels, or even old pillowcases are great to give gifts in. You can even reuse the same pillowcases year after year for oddly shaped gifts. 

Recyclable Paper 

Certain wrapping paper is marketed specifically as recyclable. If you choose this option, make sure you have a separate container for the paper when your family is unwrapping presents. 

Secondly, be sure your local recycling center takes paper! This is a good route to go if you prefer to write the gift recipient’s name on each item. 

Upcycled Paper 

This is one of the most eco-friendly ways to wrap a holiday package because it’s using what you already have. Newspaper and grocery store paper bags make awesome wrapping for presents! 

Plus, you can decorate plain brown paper with markers or leave it untouched for a sleek, natural-looking package. 

Using and Disposing of Holiday Packaging 

To get started, be sure you have distinct waste receptacles during your unwrapping. A typical garbage bag for any bows or ribbons (if they can’t be reused next year!), and a box for regular brown paper and newspaper. If you think there will be plastic packaging involved too, bring out another container for plastic recycling! 

Paper Materials

Newspaper and brown paper can easily be recycled, just remember to peel off any stickers or other additional decoration on the paper. 

Tissue paper is tricky. In many cases it is recyclable. However, if it has glitter or other adornments, it’ll have to go in the garbage. Glitter is actually small pieces of plastic, so that can’t be recycled in the same manner. 

Since tissue paper is typically only used for a short period of time, try to reuse it as much as possible. When it’s finally reaching the end of its life, check with your local recycling center. It’s possible that if your tissue paper isn’t dyed, they’ll ask you to compost it instead. 

Plastic Packaging 

Before you throw away any plastic packaging, be sure to read all the labels. On toy packaging, for example, there should be a pair of recycling symbols for each component of the packaging. That way you can separate the packaging based on your local recycling guidelines. 

Keep in mind that bubble wrap and packing peanuts are not recyclable, even if they’re green or look like they could be! Double-check to make sure they don’t say that they’re biobased because otherwise, it’s to the landfill for them!

A holiday package store might try to sell you on gift bags, but because of their embellishments, these are usually not recyclable either. 

If you’re purchasing items for other people that come in plastic, think twice before clicking “add to cart”. Plastic pollution is one of the most harmful issues on the planet right now as it deeply affects human health and the health of the planet. 

Currently, the world produces 270 million tons of plastic per year. Most of that ends up in the stomaches of aquatic animals or on our plate through BPA lined cans and food packaging. Gross! 

For more info on how certain types of packaging can be disposed of, check out this breakdown

Cardboard Boxes

Just by getting ready for the holidays and ordering gifts online, we accumulate so many boxes! Try to reuse these in your wrapping process or around the house to collect papers or donate belongings. 

If your home is already stuffed to the brim with boxes, break down the box and remove any tapes. If you’re unable to get them all off, don’t sweat it since many recycling centers can still process the cardboard. 

Depending on where you live, you might be able to use cardboard in your compost system as long as it’s pure brown cardboard without anything on it. Learn more about composting cardboard boxes in this blog post

How to Ethically Package During Holidays 

Now that you know all about how to give and receive gifts with eco-friendly packaging, it’s time to take a look around the house. What’s the plan for your Christmas tree after the holidays? If it’s a real tree, how are you making sure it gets composted? Little by little, each aspect of the holiday season can get greener with each year. 

Just like your tree and decor, holiday packaging doesn’t have to be bad for the environment or look thrown together, it can be ethical and beautiful! 

For all things related to packaging, reach out to our packaging experts. Our team excels at customer service and we love providing everything for your packaging needs at an affordable price. 

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