Is wrapping paper recyclable? Do you have to get every last bit of tinsel off the tree before it heads for the chipper? Do bows and ribbons go in the trash?
Here’s what recycling experts say is the right way to clean up from Christmas.
As pretty as they make a package, the plastic-paper composite of most bows doesn’t work when you’re trying to create cardboard. Add in the glue that sticks them to the gift and they’re a no-no in the recycling bin
“I don’t know of any paper mill in the United States that would want a bow in their incoming bales,” said Chaz Miller, policy director for the National Waste & Recycling Association.
The good news is that they’re probably the easiest Christmas item to reuse rather than recycle. Even if they lose their stickiness, a bit of tape makes them as good as new.
During the unwrapping, keep a paper grocery bag next to you and play “can you dunk it?” with the bows that come off the presents. You may never need to buy a bag of bows again. When they’re truly dead, trash them.
Yes, you can recycle Christmas wrapping paper – unless it’s metallic, has glitter or has velvety flocking on it.
“Plain wrapping paper is totally recyclable,” said Robert Reed, a spokesman for Recology, a San Francisco-based recycling company that operates in California, Oregon and Washington state.
And don’t worry about getting all the tape off before you toss it in the bin, though the more you can pull off the better. When you’re wrapping presents, think “less is more” when it comes to tape.
You can always go a step further and roll up the paper to use again later. Or wrap gifts with comics or old maps. And reusable gift bags are nice because they can be, well, reused.
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