Holiday recycling: Give items a second life


Here's how to ensure those purchases give back long after the holidays are over.

Your online holiday purchases have likely started coming in. That means lots of boxes and material such as packaging peanuts, air pillows and kraft paper cluttering your home. And more is on the way! Here are some recycling tips for pre- and post-holiday cleanup.

Participating locations of The UPS Store® accept clean foam packaging peanuts of all sizes, shapes and colors for reuse.


You can reuse corrugated boxes, but only do so if a box is "like new." The more times a box is used, the less rigid it becomes, and up to 70 percent less protective. So make sure the box is in mint condition with no punctures, tears, rips or corner damage, and with all flaps intact.

Additionally, remove old labels and completely blot out markings like bar codes and addresses with a black marker. Your box might be rerouted to a different destination if a scanner reads old information. If a box isn't fit for shipping, you can reuse it to wrap holiday gifts to be given in person or break the box down and take it to a recycling center.

Packaging materials

  • Packaging peanuts. Participating locations of The UPS Store® locations accept clean foam packaging peanuts of all sizes, shapes and colors for reuse. Find The UPS Store locations nearest you and see if they're accepting recycled peanuts.
  • Air pillows. Some recycling centers accept air pillows and Bubble Wrap, provided that the plastic has been deflated. Call a recycling center to find out if it accepts these plastics, as well as plastic grocery and shopping bags.
  • Kraft paper. Crumpled paper makes good cushioning material when shipping, so consider saving kraft paper for reuse. If you have too much already, recycle it with cardboard. If it's too weathered to endure the rigors of shipping, you can also compost it.

Christmas trees

Put your tree to good use after the holidays. Chip it to use as mulch around shrubs and flowerbeds or, if you have a live tree, plant it in the yard or donate it to a school or nursing home for their grounds. You can also check local resources for instructions on recycling options, drop-off locations or pickup dates.

Donate to charity

Start the new year with a clean slate. Take this time to donate to local charities any unwanted gifts along with last year's toys, clothes or electronics that are still in good shape.


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