Before the packages start arriving at your doorstep, make sure you understand how you should be recycling each item…

Now that it’s officially the holiday season, it’s time to start your online shopping to buy gifts for all of the loved ones in your life. But remember, the more online shopping you do, the more deliveries you will receive at home. Before the packages start arriving at your doorstep, make sure you understand how you should be recycling each item included in the package. Here’s what you need to know:

Cardboard Boxes

Most online deliveries are shipped in cardboard boxes, which can definitely be recycled at your local center. Before putting it in the bin, break down the box so it lays flat. Boxes that have not been flattened are very difficult to transport, and can waste space in your bin, leaving you with no room to put anything else.

Also, make sure to keep cardboard boxes dry prior to recycling them. Wet cardboard can damage machines used at most recycling facilities, so keep them dry if you want to be able to recycle them.

Promotional Items

Most packages will also come with a few marketing materials to persuade you to buy other products from their line. If your package comes with a catalog or any other paper material, take your time looking through it if you’re interested, but then throw it in the recycling bin when you’re done.

Bubble Wrap

Unfortunately, bubble wrap cannot be tossed in your bin with the rest of your recyclables because it can jam machinery at the recycling facility. However, that doesn’t mean you should just throw it away. There are plastic drop off locations throughout the United States that welcome plastic grocery bags, storage bags, and you guessed it—bubble wrap. Collect all of the bubble wrap that comes in this year’s holiday deliveries and bring it to a location near you after the season is over.

Packing Peanuts

Have you ever opened a package only to find a sea of packing peanuts stuffed into the box? Your first instinct may be to throw these pesky little peanuts away, but wait! Although packing peanuts cannot be thrown into the recycling bin, there are other ways to reuse them. If you plan on sending any packages, keep a small batch of packing peanuts available so you don’t have to buy more from the post office or shipping store. Most shipping stores will also allow you to bring in unwanted packing peanuts so they can reuse them in their shipments. So if you don’t have a need for them, bring them to someone who does instead of tossing them.

Ice Packs

Around this time of year, loved ones may begin sending you chocolates, candies, or other items that need to be kept cold while they are being delivered. If your package arrives with an ice pack, there are a few ways you can recycle it. Traditional ice packs can be put in the freezer and reused the next time you pack a cooler or need to put ice on an injury. Newer forms of ice packs are actually made from a gel substance instead of ice. To recycle these packs, it is recommended you let the pack thaw and then cut into the package to allow the gel to drain. After the gel has been removed, the plastic sleeve can be recycled.

Each of the items packed into your delivery will need to be properly disposed of or reused. If you are ever unsure of what to do with something that came in your delivery, don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer and ask how each item can be recycled or reused.