Not only do recycling habits matter once you’ve made a purchase, they matter while you’re deciding what to buy. Shop at locations that use bags made from recycled materials. Look for items that are in packing made from recycled materials, or better yet, pick items without any packaging that will produce no waste!
Aisles of colorful wrapping paper are hard to resist, but if you take the time, you can find some that are made from post-consumer paper. More and more manufacturers are clearly marking those items. When receiving gifts wrapped in paper, recycle it when possible. Some locations don’t accept glossy wrapping paper, so check for restrictions in your area. If you can’t recycle it, reuse large pieces of gift wrap. Reusable gift bags simplify your wrapping as well as reducing waste. If you’re crafty, you can create your own gift bags out of fabric and include them as part of your present!
Holiday parties produce an abundance of waste. Be sure your guests know where to put their bottles and cans by labeling bins clearly and placing them prominently. You can even put a sign on your trash can: “Be sure to recycle!”, so that recyclable items aren’t accidentally thrown away. If you aren’t able to utilize glass plates, stemware or utensils, go for plastic items that can be recycled or composted.
Lots of cardboard is produced to package and ship holiday gifts. Resist the urge to just pitch it all once it begins to crowd your space. Stay informed of adjusted holiday recycling schedules, and break down boxes so they can be stacked until it’s time for pickup. Another by-product of holiday giving is an abundance of now unwanted games and gadgets. Before it’s time for gifting, go through the cabinet to purge games that aren’t used. They can be donated to charity so that someone else can enjoy them. If you’re replacing electronic items, be sure that old ones are dealt with properly. Gadgets that are still in working condition can often be sold back to the manufacturer to be refurbished and resold. Some charities also take older model phones and computers. If your item is damaged, be sure it’s appropriately recycled at a community electronics take-back event.