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Make Merry, Not Waste: Recycling and Reusing Plastic Packaging Materials From The Holiday Season

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January 7, 2021

Surges in online shopping during peak holiday seasons can mean immense amounts of deliveries and, possibly, an overflow of packaging materials in our homes. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away about 25% more trash during the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than any other time of the year.

We don't have to fill our trash cans so full, though. Many of the packages that consumers receive will include BUBBLE WRAP® brand cushioning, BUBBLE WRAP® brand air pillows, or AUTOBAG® brand StealthWrap® shrink films — and they're all store drop-off recyclable.

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Reduce, reuse, recycle

Once deflated, the flexible plastic packaging can be recycled at local store drop-off locations that accept stretchy plastics. Many grocery stores provide a bin in front of the store to collect bags and films that are marked with resin identification codes #2 and #4.

Check your local recycling programs for specific regulations: Tossing it all in the curbside bin may seem like the responsible way to get rid of trash, but not every recyclable item can be recycled that way. Aspirational recycling can cause more problems than it seems to solve, and most mixed-use recycling facilities are not equipped to handle flexible materials with the same processes that manage harder goods.

From the drop-off location, BUBBLE WRAP® brand and SEALED AIR® brand packaging is re-pelletized to make a variety of products including trash bags and automotive parts, which can also be recycled. The easiest way, of course, to give these materials new life is to reuse them — in the boxes you send to exchange a gift for the right size or if you happen to ship gifts early in the year.

gift wrapped in recyclable packaging material with message

A greener holiday — and beyond

A little planning, preparation, and education can help us all create a more sustainable holiday season. Together, we can create a positive impact by making the world work better and conserving the planet's resources.

Learn more about our sustainability efforts, including our pledge to make our products 100% recyclable or reusable by 2025 and our annual sustainability report

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