If you’re still enjoying your holiday leftovers, congratulations…but the leftover gift-wrap and other items will fill up a landfill somewhere if you don’t recycle it. DeWayne Johnson, director of the Iowa Recycling Association, says mom was right — save the ribbons and bows to use next year.
If the wrapping paper’s not metallic, it generally can go into your recycling bin or be taken to a dropoff place. Same for the cardboard tubes and boxes, so instead of filling up your local dump, it can be turned into more paper. He says recycled paper from Iowa turns up in items used nationwide. When you go to the Post Office, the Priority Mail envelopes you get there have this recycled paper in them, for example.
There are some new kinds of packaging and gift wrap that won’t lend themselves to recycling. Anything with a metallic kind of look, especially bows and ribbons may not be recyclable, though Johnson says you don’t need to worry much about all the tape you used to stick the packages together. Once that was a problem but with today’s better technology it all kind of comes out in the wash. He recommends checking your local phone book, water bill, or the information your garbage collection company or town has distributed on the items it can take for recycling.
And if you’re looking for things to do with kids out of school for a week or two, there are projects and activities on the Recycling Association’s website that’ll give you ways to use all the leftover boxes and ribbons. Surf to “Iowa Recycles-dot-org and click on “newsletters.”