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How to help keep landfills from overflowing this holiday shopping season

It's convenient yes, but the growing popularity of online shopping has some downsides, including the sheer amount of waste that is generated from packaging materials
Credit: AP
In this Nov. 20, 2015 photo, a worker's shadow is cast against boxes as he unloads them from a truck trailer at Worldport in Louisville, Ky. UPS and FedEx have been working with major retailers to hone their forecasts and have tailored their extra holiday workers to better meet the shipping spikes right after Thanksgiving and the weekend before Christmas. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

For many Americans, when Thanksgiving dinner is finished, thoughts turn immediately to shopping.

What used to be a day-after-Thanksgiving event, Black Friday has started earlier and earlier at many retailers.

But, even after the of the long holiday weekend shopping frenzy is over the deal chasing continues into the following week as folks take advantage of the convenience of online shopping on Cyber Monday.

In 2018, $8 billion was spent online on Cyber Monday.

This year, Black Friday online sales hit a record $7.4 billion.

The ever-growing popularity of online shopping however has some downsides. A big one being, the sheer waste that is generated that ends up in our landfills. 

According to Republic services, UPS expects to double its daily shipping average of 20 million packages per day during the holiday season this year. That's a lot of waste.

So what can you do to help keep the landfills from filling up too quickly? Basically, there are three answers.

Recycle –

Republic Services says the only thing recyclable from most packages you might get is the cardboard itself.

Reuse - 

In addition to the cardboard boxes themselves, bubble wrap, plastic air bags and foam peanuts can all be saved and reused when you need to send a package.

If you have a friend or family member who routinely ships items consider saving the packaging material for them.

Remember, of these items, only the cardboard boxes are recyclable.

Toss –

If you can’t find a viable use for packaging material, they can be thrown into the garbage.

For more on recycling cardboard this holiday shopping season, check out this video.

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