8 Holiday Card Recycling Tips

We love Christmas cards — the thoughtfulness, the design, the meaning behind it. However, we don’t love the waste it produces, which is why we encourage our customers to recycle their cards after Christmas. For the past eight years, customers have brought in between 20,000 to 30,000 cards. This year, we are also prepared to pick up holiday cards from local corporations if they will gather unwanted cards beforehand.

We are also excited to team up with Dear Addie Fine Stationery in an attempt to recycle even more cards. We are calling this initiative “Deck the Halls with Recycled Cards.” The goal? To recycle 50,000 cards during the month of January.

For some jolly good fun, here are a few facts about card and packaging production in the United States.

  1. An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sold annually in the United States, according to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, or CalRecycle. That’s enough to fill a football field 10 stories high.
  2. 38,000 miles worth of ribbons are thrown out each year — enough to tie a bow around the Earth

If those facts don’t make you want to recycle, we’re not sure what will. So let’s get started! Below are 8 tips to help you stay on top of your waste this year.

1. Cards with glitter, foil, vinyl overlays, foil-lined envelopes or plastic cannot be recycled

2. Dark envelopes and brightly-colored envelopes are also off-limits. Pastel colors and variations of white are ok.

3. Photos and photo paper are not recyclable.

4. Remove the handle of gift bags if it is not made from paper, including string.

5. Remove ribbons, bows, metal/Mylar tissue and metal/Mylar shreds from packaging before recycling.

6. Ensure there are no traces of food.

7. Make sure all packaging is dry and clean. Bags must be empty. Remove all tape!

8. Reuse your cards and packaging for the holidays next year. Examples below.

Holiday Card Gift Tags

Holiday Card Gift Tags

Cut cards into tags, punch a hole, add ribbon, and voila! You have yourself a unique holiday gift tag. Found on marthastewart.com

Holiday Card Gift Boxes

Holiday Card Gift Boxes

Another goodie from Martha Stewart. Glue cards onto cardboard boxes to spice up your gifts.

Holiday Card ornaments

Holiday Card ornaments

Adorn next year’s tree with old holiday cards from friends and family. Saves money on Christmas decorations, too! Found on Better Homes & Gardens.

Christmas card displays

Finally, there are numerous Christmas card displays that you can create from your cards. Found on designimprovised.com.

For 12 awesome displays, check out this blog.