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Recycling

Posted on: December 14, 2023

Smart Packaging: Reuse, Recycle, Repeat

Holiday gift packages sitting outside the front door to a home.

Have you ever wondered what to do with all those packaging materials that come with your online purchases? With the convenience of clicking and buying, comes the responsibility of dealing with the packaging. Don’t worry, we have some simple tips to help you handle this like a pro.

To start: 

  • Reduce how much you purchase or select shipping options that combine multiple items into as few packages as possible.
  • Support businesses that use recycled materials. 
  • Reuse packaging materials. 

Some packaging is unavoidable. Here are some general disposal guidelines:

Soft Plastic

Stretchy plastics like bubble wrap, air pillows, and plastic mailing envelopes can usually be taken to supermarkets and put into the soft plastic recycling bins.

  • Large pieces of bubble wrap should be cut into 11x17” or smaller pieces. 
  • Inflated plastic air pillows should be popped. 
  • Padded envelopes that are made of the same materials can be recycled. 
    • For example:
      • Plastic envelopes with plastic bubble wrap cushioning.
      • Paper envelopes with paper cushioning.
  • Paper envelopes with bubble wrap cushioning cannot be recycled. Throw these in the trash.
  • Packing Peanuts:
    • If the packaging says they are water-soluble starch, you can put them in your home compost.
    • If you’re not sure what they are made from, it’s best to put them into the trash. 

Polystyrene (Styrofoam)

After Styrofoam has done its job of protecting your packages, what do you do with it?

  • Reduce Styrofoam usage if you can.
  • >Reuse Styrofoam for packages that you send.
  • If you need to throw out Styrofoam, put it in your trash bin.

Cardboard

Cardboard boxes can accumulate quickly during the holidays. If you find yourself overwhelmed with cardboard, here are some tips:

  • Flatten or break up the boxes and put them into your curbside recycling.
  • Compost cardboard in small amounts.
  • Use them for moving or storage.
  • Or get creative and use the boxes for kid’s forts or arts and crafts projects. 

Paper

Regular paper is perfect for curbside recycling. But there are some do’s and don’ts when parting with paper. 

  • Non-shredded paper can be recycled in curbside recycling.
  • Shredded paper should not be put loosely in curbside recycling.
    • Put it in your compost.
    • Put it in a paper bag, fold the top, tape or staple shut and label “Shredded Paper” before placing in your curbside bin.

Remember, every small step counts. Happy shopping, and even happier recycling and reusing!

Want More Recycling Tips?

If you're still scratching your head over how to recycle certain items, check out our A-Z Recycling Guide. It's your go-to resource for all things recycle!

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