Everyone loves the holidays, but one of the annoying truths about the festive season is the garbage... lots and lots of it. Along with millions of Christmas trees that need to be dealt with, experts say that about half of the 4.6 million tons of wrapping paper produced each year ends up in landfills. Luckily, Lifehacker is here with some tips on how to deal with holiday garbage in an earth-friendly way.

  • Cardboard boxes. With the rise of Amazon has come a new problem: recycling facilities are being overwhelmed with cardboard. Luckily, most cardboard is still recyclable using your street pickup. The only exception is if its soiled in some manner (here's looking at you pizza boxes.) Just make sure you break them down.
  • Wrapping paper. Unfortunately, laminated paper or the kind with shiny surfaces are not recyclable and will need to be tossed in the trash. So when you are buying your paper this year, avoid the glitter and bling and stick with plainer stock. I mean, once the present is opened who even remembers what it looked like wrapped?
  • Bows and ribbons. Unfortunately, while they look festive, they are a nightmare for recycling facilities as they often get entangled in the machinery. It's better for the Earth to just avoid them entirely.
  • Bubble wrap. While this is not normally recyclable via curbside pick up, you can generally drop it off at a recycling plant. Search online for one near you that accepts it.
  • Christmas cards. See wrapping paper above. Avoid the metallic, the laminated and the glitter and stick with plainer card stock and you won't have any issues recycling.
  • Christmas trees. While these are recyclable curbside in many big cities, you may have to dispose of them yourself. Again, search online for a solution near you. And don't put it in a bag if you take to a landfill, as that will prevent it from decomposing correctly.

I've been trying to do my part and be as environmentally friendly as possible, using more and more sustainable items. I actually don't even use wrapping paper at all anymore, since it's only good for one use. I prefer gift bags that can be used over and over again, or even better, I wrap in a gift like a pretty tea towel which can be used to wrap with zero waste.

Christmas and the holiday season is my favorite time of the year, but we definitely need to be aware of our footprint as we celebrate.

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