As the holidays draw closer each day, knowing the most environmentally beneficial ways to dispose of everyday holiday products such as wrapping paper, cardboard, and paper gift receipts is essential. When not disposed of correctly or just thrown in the trash, these standard holiday items can pollute the environment and increase waste in landfills. That’s why we’ve put together a composting Q&A to help you learn about the best ways to discard your items after use!
Can you compost paper with ink?
Typically, the best paper for composts is untreated and contains no dyes or inks. That being said, not all types of paper are welcome in compost piles. For example, newspapers will typically break down fully in your compost pile, as will some types of recycled paper. As a typical rule of thumb, glossy papers and thermal receipt papers are not welcome in the compost because they can contain some level of plastic that won’t ever fully break down and contaminate your compost pile.
Can you compost wrapping paper?
Unfortunately, many styles of wrapping paper are coated with synthetic glosses and colored inks that are not suitable for composts. If your wrapping paper is able to tear easily, there is a better chance that it will fully break down in a commercial compost facility. Wrappily is a favorite among our customers, as they offer recyclable and compostable wrapping paper options that are perfect for the holidays.
If you’re looking for a fully environmentally friendly and compostable wrapping paper - you could re-use any of the recycled kraft paper we use to pack the boxes here at GPP. Add a little masking tape, some hemp string, or twine for a bow and then add a small cutting of any evergreen plant, you’ve got yourself a beautifully wrapped and full compostable gift that will stand out under any tree.
Can you compost cardboard?
After the holidays, you’re likely to have many empty cardboard boxes lying around. Rather than having them end up in your nearest landfill, the good news is that you can have them composted! The majority of cardboard is compostable. To be sure, check the surfaces to confirm that there is no glossy or waxy coating. After use, tear down into small pieces or cut strips with a box knife, as this is the best way to have the cardboard break down faster. If you have a paper shredder that can handle the thickness of your cardboard, that will save you time, and it makes the perfect size pieces to quickly break down in your pile.
Can you compost Christmas trees?
If your community does not have a curbside pickup program for recycling your Christmas tree, your best bet may be to compost it yourself or find a composter near you. The good news is that all real Christmas trees are naturally compostable! After the holidays are over, the best way to add your tree to the compost pile is by breaking off each branch and chipping or cutting them into smaller wooden pieces. If you skip this step, the tree will take a very long time to break down entirely. However, once broken down, the tree will enable the growth of nutrients in your garden or as mulch, or as a significant source of “brown” carbon-based ingredients in your backyard compost pile!