According to the EPA, trash output increases by up to 25 percent during the holidays. To cut the amount of wrapping paper, boxes and other junk that heads out to the curb, check out our ideas for upcycling.
Once all the gifts have been opened, we find ourselves ankle-deep in wrapping paper, bows, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and cardboard boxes. As we stuff the Christmas detritus into giant garbage bags, it’s difficult to ignore the twinge of guilt.
According to the EPA, trash output increases by as much as 25 percent during the holidays. You can cut your donation to landfills by trying some of these tips for reusing, recycling and upcycling Christmas leftovers.
Instead of hauling boxes to the curb, consider cardboard as raw material for crafts.
Lorraine Teigland espouses recycling cardboard to make playthings for children on her website, www.ikatbag.com.
Her “Working with Cardboard” tutorial includes detailed instructions on how to fold, cut, tape and build.
Check out Teigland’s photos and tips for creating a lemonade stand, castle, birdhouse, rocket, guitar, luminaries, hats and more.
“Christmas is our favorite time of the year, not least because of all the Amazon shipping boxes that come to our doorstep,” Teigland said. “The kids are at the point where they’ll say, “Hey! A cardboard box! We can make stuff!” and practically forget about what’s inside. I’m so proud.”
The cardboard tube inside Christmas wrapping paper does not escape Teigland’s notice.
To accompany the car she made from a cardboard box, she created traffic signs, using the tubes as posts.
At www.happywanderer.com, you’ll find instructions for using cardboard tubes and boxes to create a clever Ping Pong ball maze.
At www.tipjunkie.com, you’ll find a long list of cardboard creations, from a puppet theater to a multi-car train, with photos and links to other sites.
Ask around. Is there a school, nursing home or senior center near you that would welcome the Christmas cards for art projects or crafts?
Dawn Howard of Green saves her stash of cards for the following Christmas.
“I cut the front off of Christmas cards and send them the next year as post cards. It saves on postage too,” Howard said. “I also cut them into little squares and use a hole punch on a corner to pack away for next year to use as gift tags.”
At Better Homes and Gardens, (www.bhg.com) you’ll find easy instruction for turning Christmas cards into a beautiful Christmas tree decoration for a table or mantle.
Uses for Christmas wrapping paper are almost limitless, from scrapbooking to scratch paper.
Dawn Howard thinks ahead and recycles her wrapping paper twice.
“I fold the paper and run it through my paper shredder. It makes awesome Easter grass — which then becomes garden mulch,” she said.
Page 2 of 2 - If you want to reuse your wrapping paper, you can get rid of most wrinkles by going over it with a warm iron.