If your holidays are anything like mine, your living room is about to be full of ripped wrapping paper, gifts, and boxes upon boxes. Even devoid of the gifts, the boxes may still be full, however.
They could be packed with Styrofoam, bubble wrap, paper, and other materials. These types of bundles are called complex packaging and they make disposal and recycling a major hassle.
Complex packaging is great for manufacturing and shipping companies because it’s molded to the specific product and ensures safer shipping for things like electronics. It is custom made for each item and cuts down on the weight and cost of shipping them.
Because there are so many different types of materials in one box, disposal takes more time and can get confusing. The key is to know which of these materials should be recycled and which shouldn’t. In order to do that, you have to break down each component separately.
We’ve taken the guess work out of it and detailed how to properly dispose of complex packaging for you!
First, remove each piece from the package and separate them into recyclable and not recyclable.
Things like cardboard, paper, and hard plastics can be recycled in your curbside bin with all your other holiday recyclables. Be sure to fully break down cardboard boxes until they’re flat!
Plastic bags, films, and bubble wrap are recyclable, but not in your home recycling bin. These items can be taken to your area grocery stores to be recycled.
Styrofoam is not recyclable due to its form. It is sometimes reused or repurposed into things like packing peanuts. You can check if there are locations who do this near you here: https://bit.ly/2SYTN7e. If not, toss this in with your regular trash.
Items that you think are composites, or made of many different types of material, should be put with your trash.
If you’re unsure of what type of material something is, it’s best to toss it instead of putting it in your recycling.
Once you’ve sorted it and put it in the right place, BAM! You’re done. No more holiday mess or confusion over complex packaging.
We hope this helps clear up some questions and wish you a very happy holiday season with your family!