Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Can you recycle wrapping paper?

Wrapping paper cannot be recycled.

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Check out MASSPIRG’s Janet Domenitz interview on WGBH on the challenges of reducing waste from gift wrapping holiday presents.

Janet Domenitz, the executive director of the environmental group MASSPIRG, said “I think it’s important just to check your city, your town’s website. I know in Cambridge where I live, they will recycle wrapping paper.”

But she also says that recycling should be your last option, noting that the mantra of environmental preservation is “reduce, reuse, recycle” — in that order.

“Rule number one is don’t use wrapping paper,” she said. “You can present your gifts with love and affection with old newspapers or magazines that are sitting around not being read, or old pillowcases. There’s a lot of creative ways to do the first and most important thing, which is reduce.”

If presents are wrapped, she said, unwrap them in such a way that the paper can be reused.

And Domenitz added that, while the holiday season traditionally generates vast amounts of packaging and wrapping and waste, it also provides “a moment to really see what giving is all about. And it’s not about the trucks pulling up at the sidewalk and the over-wrapped packaging of plastic stuff that, you know, we use for a few months and then toss.”

So next year, maybe make a gift by hand and deliver it in a reusable gift bag.

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