How to recycle during the holidays

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The holiday season is here and so is all the associated packaging that comes with gift giving. This month we want to give you some information about what to do with all of the stuff you will deal with during this time of giving and receiving. We hope by doing so things will be easy for you and for all of us here at the recycling center.

First I would like to start with wrapping paper. This item is not recyclable and we get it by the truckload during the holiday season. It becomes part of our trash and certainly makes paper recycling a much more complicated process. The reason this material is unacceptable has to do with two things that make it different from ordinary paper. First the majority of it is laminated with a plastic film which coats the paper and gives it that shiny appearance and the second is that frequently the paper has a metallic component that flecks off in the paper recycling process causing contamination. Paper recycling is a precise process and requires clean dry paper to assure a successful recycling outcome. So what can you use instead?

  • This is what I did last year and it worked out great. Buy a roll of brown Kraft paper it is available wherever wrapping paper is sold. You can then use paint pens, markers or stamps to decorate the Kraft paper anyway you want. Avoid putting on glitter though to make sure that when the material is recycled it will be acceptable. This brown paper when recycled goes in with the cardboard. I also added little gifts attached to the outside like trinkets or toys to make the package more festive. It is best to avoid ribbons or bows unless you collect them for reuse because these are not recyclable.
  • Another option is using decorative bags and boxes. These can be used over and over again so they are a great choice for that reason. In the case of the bags they are coated with film in the same way as wrapping paper so they cannot be recycled but because of the strength of the bag they are the perfect reuse item, so just add a different tag the next time you use them.
  • Last wrapping option is fabric. There is a Japanese wrapping technique called Furoshiki. If you look it up online you will find instructional videos on how to wrap using this method. The fabric can be used over and over again and can also be recycled in the drop off clothing recycling bins at the center and will be used to make fill for car seats or manufacture insulation.

There will also be an abundance of packing peanuts, bubble wrap and Styrofoam that comes with all the things you have ordered or purchased. Sedona Recycles collects packing peanuts and bubble wrap in our lobby during office hours 8-4 Monday through Saturday at the Shelby Drive location. These materials are then available for reuse so come by and pick some up the next time you are sending something off. The Styrofoam blocks are collected 24 hours a day for recycling at the center so take advantage of this great opportunity to recycle this bulky material. We also collect Christmas tree lights with our electronics. So when that strand of lights burns out bring them down during business hours and we will see that they are recycled as well.

We would like to encourage everyone to donate to our 90 gifts in 90 days fundraiser as a way of showing appreciation for our efforts. It will be going on until the end of the year so keep our nonprofit in mind when giving this season. You can donate by going to Happy Holidays to you all and keep up the good work by reducing, reusing and recycling during the upcoming holiday season and year round.

by Jill McCutcheon, Sedona Recycles

Sedona Red Rock News

December 20, 2017