The holiday season is full of family, friends, fun and…stuff, stuff and more stuff!  I don’t know about you but I am itching to clear it all out and get the new year off to a clean start!  Here are a few tips for what do to with all that STUFF to keep it out of the landfill and start off a clean, green 2016!

Gift Packaging

By this point you have probably gotten all of your gifts out of their boxes and packaging and put away in their new spots in your home.  No?  Okay, me neither! 🙂

When you do finally get around to it, make sure you are reusing or recycling any and all of the packaging that you can.

For example, I still have two new workout tops wrapped in tissue paper in a box sitting on my bedroom floor.  The hard part will be actually opening the box instead of continuing to step over it. 🙂  The easy part will be folding the box and tissue paper flat to store to re-use later!  However, there is more you can do!  When you do get around to taking the tag off, be sure that you recycle the paper price tag as well.  (Unfortunately, that annoying plastic thing that holds the tag on will have to go into the trash.)

Another packaging example is those impossible to open plastic shells with paper labels and directions inside.  In addition to toys for the kids that were packaged like this, I received a Veggetti  from my husband (I actually asked for it!) so that my kids (ha!) and my  husband and I can eat healthy spiral cut zucchini instead of spaghetti.  🙂  Anyway, the Veggetti came packaged in this super hard plastic shell.  I finally opened it up to give it a spin! 🙂

However, I didn’t have to put any of the packaging in the trash!  I was able to pull out the paper label and recipe card from inside the plastic for recycling and was also able to recycle the plastic shell.  If you’re unsure about recycling the plastic shell in your neighborhood do a quick check with your local division of solid waste.  In fact, it’s a great idea to keep that contact on hand for future questions about specific items that may not appear on a general guidelines list.  I bug a woman at our county division of solid waste all the time.  She loves me!  🙂

Gift Cards

And then there is the ever-so-thoughful gift card!  I truly don’t mind receiving a gift card – I just always forget to use them!  And once I use them I hate throwing them in the trash!  They are not recyclable in our curbside pickup.  🙁

Once you use your gift card (three years from now!) there are few things you can do with it.  One easy thing is to reuse them and give them to your kids to to play with.  Even though my kids are a little older they still use old gift cards to play a more “mature” version of store and shopping!

Another really cool way to reuse them is to upcycle them into some neat crafts.  There are lots of results from a quick Google search including these ideas from Totally Green Crafts.

My girls are both taking guitar lessons so their uncle bought them this really cool Pick Punch.  They can absolutely use old gift cards to make some awesome guitar picks!

If you don’t want to re-use your old gift cards they can be recycled.  Earthworks offers a mail-in program for old gift cards and credit cards. They can be mailed to:

Earthworks c/o Halprin Ind.
25840 Miles Rd.
Bedford, Oh 44146
-Send only plastic cards, no rubber bands, paper clips or paper.
-Put a label or hand write the name of your organization on the package so it can be tracked

I hope these tips give you a good start to getting rid of all that holiday stuff in an environmentally-friendly way.  Here’s to a clean, green 2016!