Post-holiday Recycling: What to Do with Gift Wrap and Greeting Cards

By Rachael on December 21, 2021

During the holidays, we can get a lot of questions about what to do with festive packaging. We ask that you please follow these simple guidelines:

Wrapping Paper

  • Thin paper that is full of color, glitter or other embellishments SHOULD NOT BE RECYCLED.
  • Thick, non-colored, cardboard type wrapping paper MAY BE RECYCLED.
  • Tubes from the inside of wrapping paper MAY BE RECYCLED.

Gift Bags

  • Brown, kraft-type paper bags MAY BE RECYCLED if handles are removed.
  • Bags that are colored, shiny or have embellishments SHOULD NOT BE RECYCLED.

Bows and Ribbons

  • Ribbon is considered a tangler, and will get caught up in the recycling equipment. It SHOULD NOT BE RECYCLED.
  • Stick-on bows SHOULD NOT BE RECYCLED.

Christmas Cards

  • Christmas cards that are plastic, covered in glitter or contain embellishments SHOULD NOT BE RECYCLED.
  • Plain paper style cards that do not contain glitter or embellishments MAY BE RECYCLED.

Christmas Lights

  • Christmas lights are considered tanglers, and will get caught in the recycling equipment. There are also too many components that cannot be separated at a recycling facility. They SHOULD NOT BE RECYCLED.

Gift Boxes

  • Carboard boxes MAY BE RECYCLED. They should be empty and broken down.
  • Thin boxboard boxes that are shiny, colored or contain embellishments SHOULD NOT BE RECYCLED.

Packaging Plastic and Plastic Bags

  • Packaging plastic, such as the air-filled pouches, can be placed with your plastic grocery bags and recycled at your local grocery store. They SHOULD NOT BE RECYCLED in curbside or drop-off recycling.

Foam Packaging

  • Most foam packing can be recycled in certain specialized locations. It SHOULD NOT BE RECYCLED in curbside or drop-off recycling.
  • Foam packing peanuts CANNOT BE RECYCLED.

Please note, this recycling guidelines may pertain specifically to Granger Waste Services. If you recycle through another company, please consult their guidelines.

Ways to Reuse Gift Wrap and Holiday Cards

  • Reuse gift bags, boxes and tissue. Chances are these items didn’t get much wear and tear in one use. You can just slap a new label over the old one and use them again next year!
  • Give your kids a pair of safety scissors and let them loose on the used wrapping paper for an art project.
  • Shred the wrapping paper and use it for confetti at your next festive occasion.
  • Line drawers with used wrapping paper.
  • Use wrapping paper for packing material to store your fragile ornaments.
  • Check out all the options for fabric or reusable gift wrap available out there or make your own.
  • Cut the image on the card up into pieces and give your kids a new mini puzzle to play with.
  • If you get a particularly beautiful card, frame it to use as a holiday decoration.
  • If you’re into scrapbooking, consider cutting up the cards to use in your scrapbooks.