Newsroom | What Makes the Naughty and Nice List for Holiday Recycling?

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Santa knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, and he knows whether you’re being a good steward of the environment or a garbage-creating Grinch. It doesn’t take much to get into the holiday spirit this time of year. However, there is one thing that really can spoil the party – not recycling.

Holiday recycling tips to make the season jolly by repurposing and reducing waste

Environment, Don't Trash Arizona, Recycling

Santa knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, and he knows whether you’re being a good steward of the environment or a garbage-creating Grinch.

It doesn’t take much to get into the holiday spirit this time of year. However, there is one thing that really can spoil the party – not recycling. Or worse, recycling the wrong things! So, what makes the naughty and nice list for holiday recycling? Read on and find out how to have an eco-friendly holiday - who knows, maybe you will be able to get on Santa’s good side this year!

Christmas wrapping paper, ribbon and bows - recycling tips for the holiday

The Naughty List

Ribbons, bows, and wrapping paper, especially the kind with glitter on it, are not recyclable. Wrapping your gifts with these things will land you on the naughty list with Santa and Mother Nature.

Here are other items on the naughty list:

  • Bubble wrap
  • Foam peanuts
  • Sticky gift labels
  • Gift bags that are coated, laminated or dyed
  • Plastic gift cards
  • Single-use plastics from your dinner parties

The Nice List

Here is how you can help your cause with Mr. Claus this year:

  • Find alternative gift wrap options like old calendars, maps, scarves, fabric, or cloth
  • Repurpose cardboard into gift boxes
  • Upcycle torn wrapping paper into envelopes, or even ornaments
  • Decorate your tree by stringing popcorn, cranberries, or dried orange slices
  • Use solar powered, or LED holiday lights in your displays
Cloth wrapped Christmas gift - recycling holiday guide

Holiday Recycling Tips

Gift Wrap with Glee

Americans produce more than 25 million tons of extra trash during the holidays, and a lot of that is gift wrap. Since it isn’t always recyclable, why not use what you have on hand to creatively present that present? Old calendars, maps, posters, or scarves will work. Use themed items – for example, a kitchen gift can be wrapped in a reusable dishtowel. You can top those presents with ribbons and bows that have seen a holiday season or two, or top presents with cinnamon sticks, pine, or eucalyptus leaves instead. You also can reuse tissue and gift bags before giving that perfect present. It will help you save money and help the environment.

Repurpose Christmas card and don't use plastic dinnerware and other holiday recycling ideas

Hark! Two billion holiday cards?

Yes. It is true. More than two billion holiday cards are sold in the United States every year. That’s enough to fill a football field 10 stories high! Up your game and stay on Santa’s good side by reusing holiday cards. Cut them in half and use the front as a holiday postcard or a gift tag. Better yet, you can just send an e-card!

Holiday parties don’t have to trash your home or the environment.

Ho-Ho-Hold the Plastic Dinnerware

Holiday parties are a great way to connect with friends and share the season. They also can leave behind a big mess and a lot of trash. You can do your part to have an eco-friendly celebration by making use of plastic recycling habits. Skip the use of plastic cups, disposable dishes, and plastic utensils. If you do use disposable dinnerware, minimize your use, and recycle what you can, making sure it is completely clean and dry before putting it in the recycle bin. Try using cloth instead of paper napkins.

Think before you shop

Santa’s Red Bag Isn’t Plastic

Each year, thousands of plastic bags end up in Arizona landfills. This season, when you are doing your holiday shopping, bring reusable bags along with you, and use them at more than one store. If you do use plastic bags, remember to reuse or recycle them or return them to the store on your next visit. But it isn’t just types of plastics that present a problem.

Forgo the Foam Packing

We want our gifts to arrive intact. But how can we package our gifts in a more earth-friendly way? For starters, avoid foam-packing peanuts or bubble wrap, which are not recyclable. Try using crumpled newspaper instead. If you do receive a gift with foam packing, save it for future use or donate it to a local shipping store.

Looking for a New Year’s Resolution?

Want to get a head start on the nice list for 2023? There are many holiday recycling tips you can put into action and help protect our planet for generations to come. If your resolution involves being more eco-friendly, check out the 50 ways you can make a positive impact on the environment and our home state of Arizona by visiting DontTrashAZ.com.

Published December 14, 2022

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