Recycling 101: Recycling through the Holidays

By Steve Davies, Healthy Planet Staff Writer

So, with the holiday season approaching, I thought I would take this time to answer the biggest question that comes up this time of year regarding recycling and that is, can we recycle the wrapping paper we use for Christmas? Well, the answer here lies in the type of wrapping paper you use.

I think for the majority of us, the answer is probably going to be yes. How do you find out, you might ask? Well, what you need to do is just take your wrapping paper and give it the old rip test. If it rips up easily, then it’s probably nothing more than paper with a glossy coating. In other words, it’s similar to that of a magazine and it’s lots of glossy pages and therefore it can be recycled.

If it doesn’t rip up easily however, then there’s a good chance that plastic is at play here somewhere in the wrapping paper. Let me also add here that unfortunately ribbons and bows are also not recyclable. I think it’s safe to say however, that you won’t find them on any of my gifts.

That said, the other part of this equation is, do any of your local neighborhood recycling programs take it? Well, when I searched the city of Kirkwood’s website, I started typing in the word “wrap” and among my choices was the term “gift wrap” which according to their website, is recyclable.

One side note though, “bubble wrap” also comes up when you type in that word and while it’s not recyclable according to their website, it can be recycled anyplace you go where you recycle your plastic bags like your local grocery stores. As far as what else is recyclable at grocery stores, well, that’s a topic we’ll delve into next month.

Now I would also add, not all city websites are the same. When I decided to look up wrapping paper on the website of our neighbor, Webster Groves, Instead of being able to search by item, they have a document which states what is and what isn’t recyclable which says that paper is always recyclable.

One final note, while you can’t always tell your neighbors or friends what wrapping paper to use, you can always make sure what you use is recycled or sometimes, even reusable. Some stores sell wrapping paper that is made from recycled materials.

At our house, we have some reusable boxes that I still use today. One last option is that you can take some old paper grocery bags, decorate them with lots of colors and make your own wrapping paper. With that, I would like to say, Happy Recycling and Happy Holidays!

If you have any questions or comments email me at thprecycler@yahoo.com