Stop. There's more to recycling your Christmas paper than stuffing everything into a big blue bin.
U.S. trash companies are increasingly having to send what would have been waste-paper recycling to landfills after China cracked down on Americans' sloppy recycling habits. It turns out that the glue on bows, the glitter dusting your fancy wrapping paper, and miles of ribbons — not to mention dirty pizza boxes and plastic grocery bags — clog the process of turning waste paper into new paper and cardboard.
It's gotten so bad that starting Jan. 1, China is setting new limits on the contamination it will allow in the mixed paper bales American trash companies ship there for recycling.
"They've starting getting more rigorous, even tearing open bales at customs," said Chaz Miller, policy director for the National Waste & Recycling Association.
If China takes less of America's used paper, our trash rates will likely rise, since selling that waste often subsidizes the cost of our neighborhood pick-up.
Here's how recycling experts say is the right way to clean up from Christmas.