Holiday Shopping & Sorting Tips

Happy Holidays from GreenWaste!

We all know that holiday shopping today is very different from a decade ago, with so many purchases being made with a few clicks on your phone or computer. As proof of this change – in 2020, our processing facility received a nearly 300% increase in annual cardboard tons compared to 2012 levels! At GreenWaste, we are happy to help give your old materials new life through material recovery. To keep your holidays green this season, we encourage you to follow these tips to reduce, reuse and recycle.


  • Bring reusable bags to the mall and shopping center, not just the grocery store.
  • Look for companies that ship in recycled cardboard boxes or reusable shipping containers (like Returnity).
  • With any online purchases, review options for limiting packaging or minimizing the number of separate boxes that arrive (such as Amazon’s Frustration Free Packaging).
  • Try gifting experiences rather than material objects, such as a spa day, cooking class, concert or museum tickets.
  • Double your wrapping as a gift: scarves, dish towels, blankets can be used to bundle gifts.


  • Reship, regift and reuse cardboard boxes you already have.
  • Drop off clean polystyrene/Styrofoam peanuts at participating UPS stores.
  • Use large plastic shipping envelopes bags as small trash bags- they are the perfect size for a bathroom trash bin.
  • Save gift bags, ribbons and bows. These items are typically not recyclable, but they are durable enough to use year after year.
  • Wrap gifts in reused materials like newspaper, colorful magazine pages, or last year’s calendar art.


  • Keep It Clean! Remember that cardboard, plastics, metals and all other recyclables must be clean and dry in order to go in your Blue Cart. Food soiled and wet materials go in the Gray Cart.
  • Avoid wrapping paper with glitter (a microplastic), foil, or plastic coatings. The combination of the materials prevents the paper from being recycled. All other regular wrapping and tissue paper can go in the Blue Cart if it is clean and dry.
  • Avoid wish-cycling packaging. Paper and plastic envelopes lined with bubble wrap and Styrofoam are garbage. Make sure you are recycling properly by reviewing your jurisdiction’s What Goes Where Guide.