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The short answer, yes you can.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo takes part in a program with Rivery Valley Paper Company for recycling paper. You can look for big green dumpsters in The RainForest parking lot if you want to bring your recyclable paper to the Zoo. The revenue the Zoo receives from this program goes back into it by paying for other recycling services and green initiatives.

Accepted items are newspapers, magazines, catalogs, junk mail, office and school papers, soft and hard covered books (including phone books), paper bags and finally, your plain wrapping paper. This means that, yes, you can recycle your holiday wrapping paper as long as it doesn’t have a velvet, metallic or glitter design.

“When we throw something ‘away’ into a trash or recycle bin, that is just the first step in the process,” says Nancy Hughes, Sustainability Manager at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

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For many years, half of the world’s paper and plastics were going to China to be recycled. The situation is quite different today because China has implemented restrictions on what they will accept when they are buying recyclable materials, says Hughes.

This represents a need for consumers to know what materials can actually be recycled and therefore make informed purchases. “We really do need to think about the bigger world picture and start ‘recycling right,’ so that our system works,” says Hughes.

Hughes states that it is our responsibility to make sure we are only recycling materials asked for by our city, county, school or business who have contracted a waste hauler to dispose of that material properly.

Even though recycling materials is worthwhile, a better option is to first reduce. Think before you buy and leave what you don’t need on the shelves. During the holiday season, consider reusing gift bags and bows instead of buying more wrapping paper every year. This saves you money and requires less resources from the planet.

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Nancy Hughes, Sustainability Manager at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

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