“It’s the most wasteful time of the year” according to the Huffington Post Reclaim Campaign, Americans throw out an additional 1 million tons of trash over the holiday season. That’s a lot of trash. Even if you celebrated as minimal, handcrafted and eco as possible chances are you have a bit more trash than normal. It’s important to take a bit of time while cleaning up to sort before you toss. In general wrapping paper with foil, glitter or anything fancy can not be recycled but it can be reused. One of my piles is things to save for next year. This includes gift bags, fancy paper, greeting cards and ribbons. Using things more than once gives them a value that we often ignore. My next pile is reuse. This pile has fabric, napkins, bags. If you can’t reuse it donate the items to a charity shop or shelter. Again using and continuing to use gives each item a value. Next is the recycle pile. Many of my gifts were in paper bags or tissue paper if they weren’t wrapped in something reusable. I also cut off and tucked in a container all the weird plastic bits that hold items together in stores. You can’t simply recycle this loose as they are simply too small but you can save up a jar of them. I keep a container by my kitchen sink and have gotten in the habit of tucking small bits of plastic and metal lids into them to make sure they actually get recycled. Finally there is the pile of actual trash. If you’ve taken the time to sort it shouldn’t be too horrible.
If each house takes the time to sort before tossing we can help the holiday season be both merry and not quite so trashy.