Material Matters: Post-Holiday Waste

This post-holiday-post catches most of us in the midst of discarding the various festivities’ detritus. All of those hours of list-making, shopping, and wrapping are summed up in the rubbish bin – well, the packaging anyway. Here’s a quick post-holiday recycling hack list:

FlowerIconTinyscreen-shot-2018-12-25-at-9-38-41-pmAll plain wrapping paper can go into paper recycling (along with paper boxes of course). By plain I mean, nothing with glitter, shiny foil or plastic anything. Plain paper that has a colored print or design is fine.

FlowerIconTinyUnless ribbons are cloth, they are made of plastic. Your average curling ribbon and pre-made, adhesive backed bows are not recyclable. Consider picking up remnant grosgrain ribbon. It’s a one-time investment. I’ve been using the same red ribbon for years! I collect it after all the gifts have been unwrapped and store it with my holiday wrapping. You’ll never be throwing away ribbon again.

FlowerIconTinyamazon-envelopeBubble envelopes, like the blue & white amazon envelope, are actually recyclable. You must cut away any paper adhesive labels first. Then just pop it in the plastic bag recycling bin at your local grocery or drug store. This applies to plastic bubble wrap and air-filled plastic packing materials (pop the balloon type before disposing). Most grocery/drug stores that supply single-use plastic bags must offer a recycling option on the premises.

I attended Climate Week NYC 2018 and when New York City Sanitation Commissioner, Kathryn Garcia, was asked to give one thought as a take-away for the audience, it was this: Your choices matter. She was referring to your choices of materials consumed daily, weekly… yearly. Because all materials generally have an end of life  – whether we are talking about single-use packaging or your retired yoga pants. 

bowl-promoAs a New Year’s exercise, try a simple daily audit of the waste you create. It’s so easy. Just have one bag for the day that you collect everything that would normally be disposed of (even recyclables). The idea is find a solution for the waste you create. Some obvious solutions are a reusable water bottle and coffee cup. How about a cloth napkin and reusable straw? A take-away salad chain here in New York is offering a free, reusable bowl with lid in January. This is a great promotion for return customers. If you are a regular take-away customer, you’ll be cutting your waste considerably with a just-saladreusable bowl.

Consider investing in your own reusable containers for everyday materials that you would generally throw in the trash. jGj will have an e-store linked to this blog in January 2019. Hopefully this will be a helpful resource for shrinking your waste footprint.

Happy New Year! We’ll see you soon.

About the Author

Here at Jenny Green Jeans, by sharing success stories and easy-to- implement tips, I hope to inspire and empower you to continue to make sustainable choices in your life and watch how far the impact goes. Contact me with any questions or suggestions you may have.

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