Paper, paper, and more wrapping paper!

As I sit here and listen to my son’s legos snapping together and my daughter quietly playing with her new dolls, I am very aware of the garbage trucks driving up and down my road.  We made the extra effort to break down the toy boxes, remove any recyclable plastics, and fold our ripped wrapping paper into a larger box.  Our landfill-bound garbage bag was still the same size this week, but of course there was a lot more paper and paperboard this week.  I looked at this papery mess in my recycling bin and I realized that I need a better system so that no small pieces of paper escape from a quick breeze while on their trip to the Derry Transfer Station.  Joannie, the Recycling Coordinator, has often indicated that the best way to contain the paper products is in another paper product.  So I guess my idea of nesting paper into paperboard boxes should work.  According the EPA, 28.5% of our municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2010 was paper and paperboard products.  Getting that out of the landfill bound trucks which Derry pays to dispose of will not only benefit Derry, but the environment as well.  The other big portions of our MSW is yard trimmings and food scraps.  I compost these in my worm composter and outdoor compost bin.  Since compost bins need carbon sources (paper) to balance out the nitrogen sources (yard trimmings and food scraps), I also add my shredded paper to the bins.  This reduces the amount of recycling paper products that end up in my recycing bin.  Of course, the best way to avoid all of this is to not purchase an item with excessive packaging in the first place… but until I figure a way to purchase legos and dolls without packaging, I expect to have paperboard in my life a bit longer.


  1. Thanks for sharing your story. Last year I tried shredding the wrapping paper to be recycled, very time consuming. This year, I just used a recycling bin to keep wrapping out of the waste stream. I will go through and separate the paper, plastic and cardboard before heading off to the transfer station.