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Between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S. is chockful of deals. Each year, it seems that businesses begin advertising further out from that weekend than the year before. But what is the deal, exactly?

The Facts

Black Friday has a long history in the United States. As early as the 1950s, there was record of shoppers taking time off work the Friday after Thanksgiving to begin shopping in stores for the holiday season.

In the early 2000s, a new trend began: Cyber Monday. With the same Black Friday deals made available online, many shoppers have taken to their phones and laptops to do their holiday shopping.

The National Retail Federation saw 88 million people shop online during Black Friday in 2021. One might initially attribute this shift to COVID-19, but online holiday shopping has been a growing trend. It’s far easier to have things delivered to your front door than to go out to multiple stores. But with every gift, decoration, and ingredient delivered to your door comes the excessive amount of packing materials that secure them.

The Impact

Residents will have piles of packages at their doorsteps before Thanksgiving leftovers are in the fridge. According to Stanford University, “Americans  throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year.” Plastic containers, bubble wrap and boxes make up the majority of waste from online shopping and each can have a negative impact when not disposed of properly. How will you prepare?

Cardboard boxes are cumbersome to trash management and harmful to the environment, which is why it is so important to have them broken down and recycled. If not broken down, bulky boxes create take up bin capacity but leave pockets of empty space. This means less space for residents to dispose of other waste, and it often leaves recyclables piled high.

Other materials, such as Styrofoam and bubble wrap, should not be recycled. To help with the do’s and don’ts of package recycling, we’ve created a list to guide you. Download this e-flyer, so you and your residents are informed on the best ways to dispose of packaging.

What to recycle:

  • Paper inserts
  • Gift wrapping paper
  • Paper packaging
  • Cardboard boxes

What NOT to recycle:

  • Styrofoam
  • Polystyrene (i.e. packing peanuts)
  • Plastic wrappers
  • Bubble wrap
  • Air bags

Recycling rules can be a bit confusing or overwhelming. As always, a good rule of thumb is to check your packages. Often times, a product will have its best disposal method printed on its label. Trash management services from janitorial vendors can support your environmental efforts with on-site recycling programs and sorting. Staying on top of your waste management not only improves the appearance of your community but also improves your community’s relationship with the environment.



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