Creative ways to reduce your holiday waste America Recycles Week – time to kickstart sustainable holidays

Written by Contributor. Posted in Featured

Published on December 02, 2020 with No Comments

 By Ronald Taylor

Ronald Taylor is the Public Education Coordinator for the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County. Since 2017 he has also served on the Board of Directors for the La Porte County Conservation Trust. As an avid nature photographer and amateur naturalist, he enjoys helping to build connections between people and the natural world." For more information, email

The holidays are fast approaching, and that means households are going to have to find ways to get rid of mountains of wrapping paper, shipping materials, and cardboard boxes. Fortunately many of these materials can be recycled.

Did you know the envelopes Amazon uses to ship products are actually recyclable at special locations throughout the county? Though these envelopes cannot go in your curbside bin, they can be taken to special drop off locations (usually located at grocery stores).

Bubble wrap and plastic air pillows used for shipping can also be recycled at the same facilities.

Visit: for an extensive list of what types of bags and wraps can be accepted.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some drop-off locations have temporarily discontinued plastic bag recycling programs. Visit: for a list of stores known to be accepting plastic bags currently.


What about wrapping paper? 

Wrapping paper can be recycled in your curbside bin as long as its surface is not shiny, glittery, or metallic. When purchasing wrapping paper, look out for brands that contain high levels of “Post Consumer” recycled paper, these labels indicate the maximum amount of truly recycled paper has been converted into the new product.

Though few things are more satisfying than ripping into a traditionally wrapped present, it’s also possible to purchase reusable wrapping material made of stretchy fabrics. Plastic tinsel and ribbons are NOT recyclable, so consider skipping them entirely in favor of reusable and/or biodegradable fabric ribbons.


Electronics recycling at Porter County’s compost sites

Lots of new gadgets and electronics might be coming down the chimney this holiday season, so don’t forget you can recycle the old ones at the Boone Grove and Valparaiso compost sites, now open for winter hours:


Valparaiso Compost Site: 

2150 W. Lincolnway (Hwy. 130 – 1 mile west of intersection with Joliet)

  • Open Monday through Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Boone Grove Compost Site:

546 South 400 West (Hwy. 8 to 400 West, head north to 550 South)

  • Open Monday through Friday, noon to 4:00 p.m. and Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Acceptable electronics include almost anything with a cord or batteries. Freon containing devices like refrigerators or dehumidifiers are not accepted at these locations, but they can be accepted at Metro Recycling, located directly across the street from the Valparaiso Compost Site at 2155 W Lincolnway, Valparaiso.

Don’t forget about the batteries that power all those new gadgets. Batteries can be recycled at the compost sites or numerous locations throughout Porter County, but you can cut waste even further by investing in rechargeable batteries with a longer lifespan.

NOTE of closures: The Portage and Boone Grove Compost Sites are open through Saturday Dec. 5th, at which point they will close for the season. The Valparaiso site is open for organic yard waste through Dec. 31st. (The Valparaiso site is open year-round for drop off recycling.)

Looking for a speaker? 

The staff can deliver online presentations to garden clubs, nonprofits, businesses, and organizations via Zoom. Contact the Waste Reduction District at for further information.


Share This Article

About Contributor

Browse Archived Articles by

No Comments

Comments for Creative ways to reduce your holiday waste America Recycles Week – time to kickstart sustainable holidays are now closed.