Dear Recycle Lady: Friday, December 17

Dear Recycle Lady,

The box that my Amaryllis Christmas flower came in seems to be made of shiny cardboard. Can it be recycled? Love the Flower

Dear Loves the Flower,

Yes, shiny cardboard can be recycled with regular cardboard. Many other products come in shiny boxes, such as toothpaste, cosmetics, OTC supplements, and some frozen foods. If the box has a lining or is waxed, it can’t be recycled. If you think a box might be waxed, run your fingernail down the side of it. If wax comes off, it is not recyclable.

Dear Recycle Lady,

Last week you said sponges contain microplastics that are hazardous to humans. What about cellulose sponges? Are they safe to use and are they recyclable? Use Cellulose Sponges

Dear Uses Cellulose Sponges,

Congratulations on your choice to use cellulose sponges instead of sponges made of plastic. Since they are made of coniferous wood and cotton fibers, they are safe to use. Cellulose sponges are more durable than the other kinds of sponges. Although they are not recyclable, they are 100% biodegradable and sustainable. Sponges should not be used to wipe up raw egg, raw meat or other substances that contain bacteria. Cellulose sponges can be cleaned with an antibacterial soap or by putting them in the microwave or dishwasher.

Dear Recycle Lady,

I just received a beautiful Christmas card that came in an envelope lined with gold foil and tissue paper. Can this envelope be recycled? Love Christmas

Dear Loves Christmas,

Envelopes with gold foil liners and tissue paper are elegant, but not recyclable. There are facilities in large cities that can recycle these envelopes, but the local Recycling Center doesn’t have the capacity to do so.

Good News: IKEA has announced that they will be phasing out plastic packaging for all their products and will be completely plastic-free by 2028. Last year, the Swedish retailer stopped using single-use plastics in its stores and restaurants. Well done, IKEA!

Have questions about recycling, or interesting information about recycling? Send questions or requests to . Dear Recycle Lady is sponsored jointly by the Greenbrier Recycling Center and Greenworks Recycling.


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