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  • To ship presents, just cut up old brown paper grocery bags instead of buying shipping paper.
  • Save and reuse all your old decorative gift bags, your best boxes and nice ribbons and bows.
  • Wrap presents in old calendars, maps, posters, sheet music, wallpaper scraps, kids’ drawings or the Sunday color comics section of the newspaper.
  • Try reusable containers such as Christmas stockings, baskets, tins or cake pans.
  • Wrap a kitchen gift in a kitchen towel to make the packaging part of the present.
  • Local thrift stores may offer inexpensive surplus wrapping paper.
  • Avoid foil and plastic-coated wrapping papers, since they are not recyclable.
  • Decorate packages with reusable items such as hair bows, ornaments, shoe laces, neckties, toys, scrap fabrics, buttons and dried flowers.
  • Consider making your own holiday cards, but start early to avoid getting stressed out. This is a great project to do with your kids. Use all the scrap materials described above for wrapping paper, and you can also use pieces of old store-bought greeting cards.
  • If you do buy paper cards, look for ones made from recycled paper. If they’re recycled, it should state this on the back. “Post-consumer” recycled paper is best because that comes from residential or business recycling collection programs. “One-hundred-percent post-consumer recycled paper” is the gold standard.
  • Use pieces of old holiday cards for gift tags.
  • If you get a package with polystyrene foam packing peanuts, some local shipping stores may accept those for reuse. Check first. Or, put them in the garbage – double-bag them in old plastic bags so they don’t get loose!
King County Solid Waste Division mission: Waste Prevention, Resource Recovery, Waste Disposal

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