Christmastime is upon us.
History teaches us we will send 2 1/2 billion, with a "B" cards, use 38,000 mile of ribbon and cover gifts with 4 million tons of wrapping paper.
Studies have shown that between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the average American household will put out about 25 percent more waste. That's somewhere around 5 million ADDITIONAL tons of waste matter.
OK, so what to do to leave a little less footprint in the landfill?
Start with looking for wrapping paper that is made from recycled content. Buy only paper. Remember, if it rips, it's paper. The other stuff is usually something glossy, shiny, full of sparkles, but also full of metal strand that prevent it from being torn. The foil and metallic content also prevent recycling it.
If you've got lots of gift paper in storage, or even if you are buying some really nice paper products, no worries. Set it aside to recycle once it's been used.
As is always the case with recycling, the easier you make it, the more success you will have. Instead of having one of those big, black, plastic bags to toss the used paper into, use a paper sack. Most stores during the holiday rush provide huge, oversized, paper sacks. Get one and save it. As you're opening gifts, or during the cleanup, put all the used wrap in this sack. Once the used paper is captured inside the other paper, the whole thing is ready to put in your paper recycling bin.
Don't forget, the cardboard cores for the wrapping paper, tissue paper, unwanted boxes, paper ID tags, envelopes from cards, all that stuff can be returned to a paper recycling center.
Instead of using tissue paper as filler in a box, you could be collecting your filler medium all year round. The Sunday funnies make great filler. Again, not difficult to store. Clear a spot in the garage, closet shelf or in the utility room cabinet. Fifth sheets of comics do not take up much space. For that matter, once opened up, the average sheet of comics covers most medium size shirt boxes. The comics could actually cover your gift box instead of purchasing paper.
Again, using the Carnegie Mellon Green Practices, if every American wrapped up just three gifts in reused, recycled materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.