During the holidays Americans produce a lot of waste. One million tons of wrapping paper and packaging ends up in landfills, according to the EPA.
In California, nearly 25 percent of all trash comes from packaging alone. Last year the head of the state's recycling department decided it’s time to reduce that total.
Lance Klug, with CalRecycle, says policy recommendations around recycling, reusing and limiting packaging at the source are set to come out in February. It's all part of the state's 75 percent recycling, composting, and source reduction goal by 2020.
“Once people realize one in every four items they throw away is packaging related [they then can realize] there’s all sorts of things you can to do reduce the amount of packaging you use in the first place,” says Klug. "Reuse what you can and recycle what you can."
He says when distributors – like Amazon – over-package, it’s best to let them know with an email or comment. Klug says many sites offer an option to have all items packaged together.
“Obviously packaging is important to keep consumer goods safe,” says Klug. “It plays a role in consumer safety, but we know a calendar and jeans probably don’t need paper, bubble wrap, cardboard and layers of tape.”
When wrapping gifts, Klug says it’s important to pay attention to the type of wrapping paper used, because it’s not all recyclable. In general, he says the more ornate it is the less recyclable it is. CalRecycle has a general list of what items can be recycled.