Put that excess and crumpled up wrapping paper to good use - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Put that excess and crumpled up wrapping paper to good use

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RICHLAND, WA - On average, Americans produce about 25% more garbage over the holidays, but most of that can be either reused or recycled.

Reporter Mackenzie Allen learned more about what you can do to keep stuff out of the landfill and put it to greater use.

You may want to think twice about throwing away the wrapping paper from your Christmas presents. Putting it in your garbage bin could end up costing you down the line.

From the packaging of gifts, cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, and even down to the bow on top, just about everything you'll be unwrapping this week can be recycled.

If your city doesn't have recycling bins, you can contact your waste collector to find out where those items can be recycled.

The less that goes into the landfills, the longer the landfills will last, which will keep your fees down.

Even those annoying shipping peanuts can be recycled as well.

Tri-Cities based Surgical Implant Generation Network - or SIGN - collects the boxes and reuses them to send out orthopaedic implants to developing countries.

"It has made a huge impact on the amount of materials we have to purchase," said Stacie Robinson with SIGN Fracture Care International. "And as a non-profit, that makes a huge difference for us."

And that means they can help a greater number of people around the world.

If you do end up with excess packing peanuts or bubble wrap, SIGN will be opening back up on January 2nd.

Something else to keep in mind: if you get a big ticket item like a new big screen TV or computer, don't leave the empty box on the curb with the rest of your garbage and recycling to be picked up...that's just a big advertisement for thieves to break into your home.