The presents have been unwrapped. You’re about to embark on your post-holiday clean-up. But how should you handle all the boxes, bows, paper and ribbons?
Don’t just immediately put it all in the trash. Roughly 80 percent of what’s thrown away during the holidays can be recycled or re-purposed, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“If you take a few seconds to sort gift wrappings and holiday décor into the correct recycle or trash bin, particularly during the holiday season, you make an impact on keeping recyclables from being contaminated,” said Erin Treadwell, manager with the City’s Recycling and Solid Waste Division.
Foil wrapping paper and glittery bows will brighten up a gift, but don’t toss them into the recycling bin. They actually contaminate the contents, as does bubble wrap, plastic bags, batteries, foam peanuts and food. However, if your wrapping paper or bows don’t contain foil, they can go in the blue bin.
To help customers sort it all out, the City offers some tips at www.sortsmart.org. A few quick examples include:
* Reuse ribbon, boxes and bows. Holiday gift bags, boxes and bows can be reused year after year.
* Trash old tree decorations. Tinsel, ornaments and light strands are not recyclable.
* Give living gifts. Plants, trees and seeds are great gifts and contribute to air quality.
* Recycle wrapping paper and paper holiday cards. Most wrapping paper and holiday cards can be recycled with the exception of items with foil. Photo cards are not recyclable.