The Best Ways to Recycle and Reuse all of that Christmas Packaging

by - Saturday, December 26, 2020

Alright, if you are like us, you are looking around your home realizing that you got some gifts, but you got way more packaging. The instinct is to just stuff everything into a big box and throw it out. But, I beg you.  DO NOT THROW OUT THOSE BUBBLE MAILERS!

I just read that Amazon will produce enough plastic waste this Christmas to wrap around the world 500 times. It makes me nauseous to think about, but as we unwrapped (and rewrapped) all the gifts our family sent and we bought, I believe it. What I find even more depressing is how many Etsy sellers sent their stuff in plastic too! Blerg! 

It makes me wonder- why doesn't Amazon have a system to gather and reuse all this packaging? Why haven't they switched to all plant-based and biodegradable packaging? And why aren't there stricter rules about this? When a company creates a mess of that magnitude, it seems to me you should be held accountable to pick it up and make some changes. This is the bigger goal, and it's important. Until then, you can still try to make the problem smaller by rethinking what you do with all that Christmas waste. 

So, we can't solve this problem, but we can save those bubble mailers.

 Start a box of bubble mailers. If you mail stuff, reuse them. If you have a buy nothing, offer them there (someone has always taken ours). If worse comes to worse, look up the etsy stores in your area (you can use the location search to find them) and offer them to them! I also learned some cities have services that will collect them (like Ridwell in Seattle, which I love). 

Have more questions about how to minimize your waste during the holidays? This year, more than ever, it is important to tend to all the shipping materials and packaging for the sake of our environment.  Here are some quick solutions:

🎄Returns- be sure gifts will be recirculated. The bigger the company, the more likely they just throw it out (I heard a total horror story about Michael's). Amazon just tosses things, so you may be better off donating/regifting those items if you don't want them in a landfill.

🎄Plastic wrap- start a bag for all your plastic film! Think bread bags and the wrap on toys. Most grocery stores have a recycle bin for it at their entrance. This is a great habit start no matter the time of year. 

🎄Cardboard- Recycle, use it for all sorts of crafts and toys, or offer it on buy nothing! Somebody may be able to use it. Someone is always moving in our neighborhood, so boxes are always getting passed around. Also, if packaging is half plastic, be sure to pull all the plastic out before you recycle it. 

🎄 Wrapping paper- Look before you recycle! Sadly, a lot of it is not recyclable (see: anything shiny or sparkly), and wish-cycling can do a lot more harm then good. Also, everyone stop buying crappy wrapping paper that can't be recycled. 

🎄Bows, cards, gift bags- We all know you save that business. Only fools trash gift bags.


Be sure to check your local recycling rules- it's different everywhere! Think of it as a new fun Boxing Day tradition to trash as few boxes as possible. Also, if you are overwhelmed with this stuff this year, remember every Christmas is a chance to buy more secondhand and locally- no packaging needed! 

Merry Christmas and happy trash sorting!

The Best Ways to Recycle and Reuse all of that Christmas Packaging

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