Growing up, my husband's family and mine had one holiday tradition in common. When it came time to open gifts, our dads made sure there was a large trash bag nearby. Nothing was safe. Boxes, wrapping paper, tissue paper, ribbon, bows and tags were all swept up and tossed away. So, when the next wrapping season came around, we had to start over, acquiring everything new. We were trapped in a repetitive, wasteful cycle.
Times have changed since then. We recycle what we can. It's better for the environment and our pocketbooks, too. In our home, we still bring out the trash bag, but it is for bows and package decorations we can reuse. We fold and save tissue paper that isn't too torn and take empty boxes to the attic. Are you concerned the boxes will consume too much space? Nest smaller boxes inside bigger ones and you'll be surprised how that stack shrinks.
If wrapping paper is coated (slick), it cannot be recycled. However, many people now use gift bags in place of traditionally wrapped boxes. The bags can be flattened and used again next season. Another green and frugal idea is to use the Sunday comics section to wrap gifts. You know for sure that that paper can be recycled, even with small amounts of tape still attached.
Don't forget to recycle your not so fresh Christmas tree. It will provide mulch for trees and flower beds, beautifying the landscape and conserving water.
Have a question for The Recyclinator? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll see that she gets the message.