Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap Guide

The best gifts come in sustainable packages!

Approximately 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper is produced in the U.S. each year with 2.3 million pounds ending up in the landfill. 

Holiday wrapping paper is often coated in plastic or foil causing it to be non-recyclable. If the wrapping paper is metallic, has glitter on it, or has a texture to it, it is not recyclable. Gift wrap mistakenly put in the recycling cart harms the value of other collected paper at the recycling center.  

Beautiful paper like these: glitter, metallic, textured and reversible are NOT recyclable gift wrap.  

If it feels like plain paper, not slick or wax coated, or is made from recycled paper, then it’s a wrapping paper that can be recycled.  Another way to test recyclability is to crush the paper into a ball. If it stays bunched up, it is likely recyclable. 

An eco-friendly gift is thoughtful for the recipient and the planet! Check out these tips for a greener holiday. 

Reusable Gift Wrap and Recycled Paper 

If the holiday rush has you hustling and there’s no time for crafting, consider purchasing a reusable alternative. Fabric gift wraps, nice tea towels, scarves and bandannas make excellent choices. 

For wrapping boxes, try using found newspaper or purchasing wrapping paper made with recycled content.  Really get in to the recycling spirit with these two simple crafts and make your own gift box or hand-made bow this holiday season. 


Shopping Bag Bow  

Materials: 

  • Paper – shopping bag, newspaper, etc. 
  • Scissors 
  • Ruler 
  • Double-sided tape 

Instructions: 

Cut your paper into nine strips, each ¾ of an inch wide. Next, measure and cut the length. You’ll need three strips that are 11” long, three strips that are 10” long, two strips that are 9” long and 1 strip that is 3 1/2” long. 

Using one strip of paper at a time, twist each end toward the center until they meet in the middle and create a loop. Secure the ends in place with double-sided tape. Repeat with the remaining eight strips, with the exception of the 3 ½” inch strip; loop that one into a circle. 

Start with the three longest strips of paper and begin stacking in descending order by size; largest on the bottom. Secure each loop in place with tape. Finish with the circle loop in the center. Attach your bow on top of your gift wrapped in recyclable paper. 


Create a Gift Box 

Turn any recycled card stock into a gift box. Find old record covers, cereal boxes, or old shipping boxes and make a custom box for a loved one. 

Materials: 

  • Card stock  
  • Scissors 
  • Ruler 
  • Hot glue or double sided tape 

Instructions for an 8 inch square box: 

Trim two pieces of card stock into a square that is 12” wide and long.  

For the top: Draw a line 2” wide on each side. For the bottom: Draw a line 2 ¼” wide on each side. Press firmly to score lines but not too hard or you might cut or tear the cardstock. See image below. 

Use scissors to lightly score along the lines 

Cut alternating flaps as marked on the image below. Fold along all four scored lines on each piece of card stock. Use glue or tape to secure each corner flap inside the longer, side piece of the box.   

Tip: use clothespins to secure corners while glue is drying 

Once glue dries or the corners are secured with tape, you have a custom, upcycled box to fill with a special gift for friends, family or the holiday gift swap at the office. 

Recycling Dilemma #1003 – Moving Boxes and Oversized Cardboard

Whether you relocated from across the country, moved a kid home from college, or just received delivery of a new flat screen TV, dealing with the cardboard boxes are no problem!  Your curbside solid waste services through Waste Management provide a special pick-up day each month for recycling oversized and overabundance of cardboard boxes. The service is provided to each neighborhood in The Woodlands once a month at no additional cost. 

2 Easy Steps:

Determine your pick-up day by Village 

  • 2nd Monday of the Month: Alden Bridge, Cochran’s Crossing, Sterling Ridge. 
  • 4th Friday of the Month: Creekside Park, College Park, Grogan’s Forest, Grogan’s Mill, Indian Springs, Panther Creek, Research Forest, Town Center. 

Schedule bulk recycling pick-up of cardboard 

  • At least 2 business days prior to the scheduled pick-up day, call Waste Management Customer Service at 1-800-800-5804. 
  • Request and keep the confirmation number until service occurs. 

For a trouble-free pick-up, please follow these guidelines: 

  • Flatten boxes, then bundle and stack them curbside. 
  • Fold packing paper and place in your recycling cart for pick-up on your regular service day. 
  • NO packing peanuts, Styrofoam™, bubble wrap or plastic.  
  • Place items at the curb before 7 a.m. on the pre-scheduled pick-up day. 

Have an abundance of cardboard and don’t want to wait? 

Take it to one of our local Drop-off centers  

The Woodlands Recycling Center 5100 block of Research Forest, west of Bear Branch Recreation Center Open Wednesday, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  

Precinct 3 Recycling Complex 1122 Pruitt Road—Call for details: 281-367-7283 Open Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., closed for lunch 11:30 to 12:30

Check out these recycling tips from previous blogs:  

2022 Holiday Waste Guide: Service schedule updates and tips to make your holiday a little greener

There will be no interruption in curbside trash and recycling services during the Christmas and New Year holidays. All services will occur on their regularly scheduled day including yard trimmings and bulky trash pick-up.  

For trouble-free service this holiday season, please keep streets clear of parked cars to allow trucks to safely access carts, place carts at the curb by 7 a.m. and ensure cart lids close completely.  

The Woodlands Recycling Center at 5402 Research Forest Drive will be open on SaturdayDecember 24 and Saturday, December 31.  It will be open on Wednesday, December 21 and Wednesday, January 4 from 4 to 7 p.m. 

To report a missed pickup or schedule bulky trash pickup, please contact Waste Management Customer Service at 800-800-5804 or cssatex@wm.com.   


Extra Trash Bags  

  • Extra bags of trash can be placed on the curb next to your cart.   
  • Each bag must be affixed with a pink extra service tag.   
  • Purchase tags for $1.75 each from The Woodlands Township offices, Kroger (Cochran’s Crossing, Alden Bridge and Sterling Ridge)  
  • Each bag may weigh no more than 40 pounds.  


Christmas Tree Guidelines

Cut Christmas Tree Recycling – Unflocked Trees Only  

  • Remove tree stand, all decorations and lights.  
  • Place the tree at the curb on your regular service day for collection by the yard trimmings  truck.  
  • Trees free of decorations may also be deposited at the Recreation Center at Rob Fleming Park, 6464 Creekside Forest Dr and Research Forest Park & Ride, 3900 Marsico Pl. These trees will be chipped and used for flooring at Texas TreeVentures.

Flocked Christmas Tree Disposal  

  • Schedule for bulk pickup by calling Waste Management at 800-800-5804.
  • Call at least two working days before your regular service day.  
  • Flocked Christmas trees must be landfilled.  

Quick Tips for a Greener Holiday 

Greetings cards and packages fill our homes and warm our hearts during the holidays. Consider these tips for a greener Christmas and reduce the amount of holiday tidings that end up in the landfill. 

  • Recycle plain wrapping paper and flattened cardboard boxes in your curbside cart. Check out these Recycling Tips for the Online Shopper for help deciphering which items can be recycled and which cannot. 
  • Give a second life to your clean, gently-used clothing, housewares, toys, furniture and appliances by donating to local charitable organizations. Items should be in good, usable condition. Check out The Woodlands Donation Guide for a list of local organizations accepting donation. Many organizations will pick up your items. If you have an item that is not specified in the guide, call first to assure it is accepted. 
  • Find new recycling opportunities for items that cannot be recycled in your curbside cart. Items such as used electronics, batteries, Styrofoam, light bulbs, eyeglasses, mattresses and more can all be recycled locally at participating locations. Check out the Recycle More Guide for a complete list of locations and phone numbers. 

If wrapping paper is metallic, has glitter on it, or has a texture to it, it is not recyclable. Gift wrap mistakenly put in the recycling cart harms the value of other collected paper at the recycling center. Check this Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap Guide for sustainable wrapping tips. 


Questions or comments?

Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov

3R Drive-thru: Light Bulb Recycling

Recycle Light Bulbs; earn scholarship funds for your village!

If you feel in the dark about light bulb disposal, here’s a bright idea: recycle used light bulbs to earn scholarship money! The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department has selected Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent (CFL) and LED light bulbs for the annual Village Recycling Challenge held at the 3R Recycling Drive-thru on Saturday, November 12, 2022 from 9 a.m. to noon in The Woodlands High School’s parking lot. Light bulbs must be intact, not broken. Batteries and other listed items will also be accepted. This event is for residents only, no businesses. 

This year’s Recycling Village Challenge shines a light on the importance of responsible waste disposal. Recycling light bulbs saves material that can be reused, reduces landfill space, and keeps hazardous chemicals out of our environment. Although they are made of glass, metal and plastic, light bulbs cannot be recycled in your curbside cart.


How are light bulbs recycled?

Light bulbs are put through a machine, called a tumbler, which crushes and separates the primary components: glass, metal, plastic, mercury and phosphor. These materials are then stored for manufacturing into new items.  


Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) contain a small amount of mercury gas. If CFLs are disposed of in a trash can or landfill, the glass can crack and release mercury into the environment. Chemicals from CFLs and other hazardous waste, such as batteries that end up in the landfill, can leach into the surrounding water table, endangering human health and aquatic habitats. CFLs and other household hazardous waste should always be treated with care and safely disposed of through special collections. If you are saving CFL bulbs for recycling, please store them in a safe place such as their original box to avoid damage. 

Want to save money, energy and even water? 

LED light bulbs use 80% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, saving energy, money and even water. They also pose almost no fire risk because they emit  less heat than other bulbs. LED lightbulbs may cost more up front, but they’ll save you hundreds or thousands of dollars over the years because of efficiency and long life span.  

Join us for free recycling of select items and support your village by bringing Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent (CFL) and LED light bulbs to the 3R Recycling Drive-thru for the Village Recycling Challenge. The village that collects the most will receive a donation to its scholarship fund from The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N.  

Can’t make it to 3R Recycling Drive-thru?  

That’s ok! The Montgomery County Precinct 3 Recycling Center (1122 Pruitt Road in Spring), Home Depot, Lowes, Batteries Plus and Best Buy accept different types of light bulbs all year. For a comprehensive list of local recycling opportunities of other oddities such as electronics, batteries, paints, pharmaceuticals, and more check out the Recycle More Guide.  

For more information, visit www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/3rdrivethru