A great way to recycle and save money around the holidays is to make your own wrapping paper and packing materials. Paper grocery bags turned inside out and decorated can make a nice wrapping, and so can newspaper, comics, magazine pages, old maps and fabrics. You can also turn your old Christmas cards into gift tags by cutting off the back flap with the message.
When wrapping up boxes of gifts to mail, there’s no need to buy bubble wrap or (god forbid) Styrofoam peanuts. Instead, protect your gifts with crumpled newspaper, plastic shopping bags, old socks (washed, of course) or anything else soft and squishy that you’d got lying around the house. Be sure to reuse your cardboard boxes, too. Just pull off or scratch out the old mailing labels and they’re good as new.
If you receive a gift that’s been packed with those annoying plastic peanuts that get all over the place, take note that you can RECYCLE these items. Don’t put them in your bin. Instead, pack them into a plastic bag and take them by your local packing/shipping/moving store. They will usually take your peanuts and use them again, although you might want to give them a call before you stop by. If the peanuts are kind of fluffy and look like cheese puffs, then they are probably the new kind that are made of vegetable starch (you can test by seeing if they dissolve in water). These peanuts can be put in your compost bin or regular trash.