By now, most of the gifts are opened and we are left with piles of packaging, gift wrap, ribbons, bows and possibly a few unwanted gifts. What now?
If your family is anything like mine, among the fabulous handmade items we received (like the beaded cross necklace and crochet handbag my kids received and adore!) there are also lots of toys in cardboard and plastic packages.
You can recycle those packages, but it takes a little work on your part.
First: Separate out your wrapping paper. Any foil accent paper cannot be recycled. Use this for craft projects like Thank You cards or Decoupage. Place the rest of your paper into the recycling bin (we like to fold ours up so it isn’t all crumbled).
Second: Gather all the ribbons, bows and gift bags to be saved for future gifting or crafting.
Third: Breakdown all plain cardboard boxes (shoe boxes, shipping boxes, etc…) and add to the recycle bins.
Fourth: Separate all packaging. Remove all the inner plastic forms, wire twist ties, hard plastic pieces. Now, remove the plastic windows from the cardboard. Once you are down to just cardboard, fold the boxes up and place in the recycle bin. (Just a side note: if you don’t remove the plastic from the cardboard the boxes will likely end up in the trash once received at the recyclers.)
Fifth: Now what about all those pieces? Save the wire twist ties, you’ll be amazed down the road what you can use them for. Discard the plastic forms and other plastic in the trash, unless you are lucky enough to have a recycling resource available (Check Earth911 for this!).
Sixth: Extra or Unwanted Gifts- if its just a matter of too many toys, we sometimes place a few unopened in the closets. Then when the kids need a distraction, pull one down. This has saved many rainy days. If its something you already have or can’t use, then find a new home for it. Donate the items to a shelter, charity store, church, or return the item to the store if you can.
We normally receive any number of gifts from Wal-Mart and I refuse to shop at that store. Because of this, I won’t return gifts to Wal-Mart because I don’t want an in store credit. That doesn’t solve the issue for me! So, these gifts (if the wrong size, unable to use, duplicate, etc…) get donated to a local shelter. Luckily this isn’t an issue this year!
My children did receive a large number of traditional plastic toys. While this is a bit disheartening, I have to remember that the givers have the best of intentions. They want to make my children happy and they want them to feel loved. How can I argue with that? We have one family member who lives to bargain shop, she will start at the sales tomorrow and collect items all year long. Then when Christmas rolls around she doles those great bargain finds out among her loved ones. How can I argue with what makes her tick? I can’t and I won’t. As for my house, we will keep it green and we will keep the spirit of the Holidays by being Thankful for every gift (those that are handcrafted, those that are store bought, those that come in the form of time, those that are the presence of our loved ones). Please do check your child’s toys for recalls, safety is paramount.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
P.S. My son has informed me that his favorite gift was the beaded necklace my sister made for him. He gets it and he’s only eight.
P.P.S. My children are already hard at work creating wrapping paper for the upcoming year with their new art supplies.
Other Posts You May Enjoy:
- Holiday Throwaways That Deserve Saving
- Facing a Cleaner, Greener, and More Peaceful Future
Tips For Recycling says
Nice job on this post. I think after the holidays people just get overwhelmed with the amount of leftover mess and it’s easier to just opt for the trash bin. But with just a little work most of that mess can be recycled or reused. Good information here! 🙂