The Love Me Nots of Valentine’s Day Recycling
As our national day of love approaches, you’re probably thinking about what and how you’ll express your affection on Valentine’s Day. In fact, Americans are expected to spend a record $20.7 billion this Valentine’s Day¹ – that’s a lot of love. While it’s exciting to give and receive gifts of the heart – V Day, like most holidays, creates a lot of excess waste.
Fancy décor, flowers, cards, candy wrappers and gift boxes create a recycling and waste bin dilemma – what’s recyclable and what’s not? Here are some recycling Love Me’s (recyclables) and Love Me Nots (non-recyclables).
Love Me’s – Valentine’s Day Recyclables
- Cards. About 145 million cards are exchanged on Valentine’s Day each year, making the holiday the second largest for greeting cards². When it comes to recycling these cards, just remember - the fancier the card, the less recyclable it is. Plain paper greeting cards sans metallic print or embellishments are perfectly recyclable. Cards that talk or sing are cute, but they’re not recyclable because they contain tiny batteries that can combust when compressed in the back of a waste collection truck or by the equipment at a recycling center. Treat these types of cards like e-waste and dispose of them safely.
- Flowers. Once your flowers have lost their bloom, they go in your compost bin to help create something that’s good for the planet and of course, more flowers.
- Gift bags and boxes. Paper gift bags and boxes are recyclable – but like greeting cards, the fancier they are, the less recyclable they are. When in doubt, reuse the box or throw it out.
Love Me Nots – Valentine’s Day Nonrecyclables
- Candy boxes and wrappers. Mostly everything about Valentine’s candy and the box it comes in is just delightful – except they’re not recyclable. Both the candy wrappers and the box (if it’s embellished or contains chocolate residue) belong in your waste bin.
- Metallic wrapping paper. Glitter and shiny hearts sure are pretty on paper, but not recyclable. This stuff goes in your curbside waste bin if you can’t find a way to reuse it. And the same goes for ribbon and string.
- Gift packaging. If you receive a package, remember that the cardboard box is recyclable but not the bubble wrap, Styrofoam™ peanuts or shrink wrap. Reusing these materials is the best bet. You can save them for other packages or drop them by your local shipping store to see if they need them. If not, then place them in your waste bin.
This Valentine’s Day, share these love me and love me not recycling tips to show our planet some love. For more recycling tips on Valentine’s Day and beyond, visit RecyclingSimplified.com.