If you are an eco-friendly individual, you’ll always be on the lookout for ways to contribute towards reducing wastage and cutting down carbon emissions. Your pile of jewelry box and packaging will likely be one of the things you’d want to dispose of sustainably, but it is possible? How can you do it?
Some jewelry boxes are recyclable; it depends on the type of materials used in making them. Boxes made of cardboard, plastic, aluminum, or glass, are easier to recycle than wood. Additionally, the boxes have to be made from one material only instead of a mix, making recycling impractical.
The rest of this article will take a look at all you need to know on how to sustainably discard jewelry boxes you no longer need. Watch out for tips on where to donate them.
Recycling Cardboard Jewelry Packaging
Some jewelry brands use corrugated cardboard boxes to pack their jewelry and for good reasons. According to the American Forest & Paper Association, the material has a recovery rate of 96.4%, which means it is an excellent candidate for recycling.
Putting your corrugated cardboard jewelry boxes into the recycling bin is important because around three tons of trees are needed to produce one ton of virgin cardboard. By recycling one ton of cardboard, you can free up nine cubic yards of landfill space.
To recycle such boxes, all you need to do is ensure they get to your local recycling facility by leaving them outside on the designated days or putting them in the recycling bin. At the recycling facility, it will undergo a process to break it down and create material for new boxes.
Recycling Plastic Jewelry Boxes
If your jewelry came in beautiful plastic boxes, all the standard methods of recycling plastic apply here. While most people have access to plastic recycling, the programs in specific areas will vary when it comes to what type of plastics can be recycled.
Most of the programs will have no problems with recycling plastic water or food containers but may have different rules for plastic boxes like those used in some jewelry packaging. To be sure, you need to get in touch with recycling advocates in your area. They can help you explain the laws better.
Of course, you can still pack the boxes together with other plastic containers you are discarding, but if the program doesn’t cover them, you’ll just be sending them to the landfill.
Recycling Glass Jewelry Boxes
Glass can be recycled indefinitely without losing its purity, so it’s good to recycle glass jewelry boxes. However, just like plastic, some counties and municipalities have laws governing what type of glass can be recycled.
While jars and drink bottles can easily be collected and recycled in most places, jewelry boxes may not be collected. Again, you should find out what your local laws say in this regard. In some places, glass collection has been suspended completely. In such a scenario, you’ll need to explore other ways to sustainably get rid of your boxes.
Recycling Aluminum or Stainless Steel Jewelry Boxes
Just like glass, aluminum and stainless steel are materials that can be recycled forever. If your jewelry boxes are made of any of these materials, getting them recycled is straightforward. You only need to find a way to get them to the designated recycling plant.
In many places, there are curbside and municipal programs that will take the boxes off your hands. The efficiency of the aluminum recycling process, especially, means that more than 75% of the aluminum produced in the US, for example, is still in use today.
Recycling Wooden Jewelry Boxes
Of all the materials that can be used in making jewelry boxes, wood is one of the hardest to recycle. Clean timber can be recycled, but once it’s been treated or painted (as is the case with wooden jewelry boxes), they can only go to the landfill or be repurposed in other ways discussed below.
Others Ways to Sustainably Discard Your Jewelry Boxes
If you’ve found out that you can’t recycle your jewelry boxes, there are a few things you can do to avoid sending them to the landfill.
If your jewelry boxes are made of corrugated cardboard, and you’ve kept them away from contamination, you can add them to your composting pile. Remove all packing or design materials included with the boxes, break them into small pieces, and add them to the pile.
It will take around six to eight months for such boxes to fully decompose, but they could depose faster if you soak them in water first. Don’t forget to stir the mix properly to ensure it contains enough oxygen.
Repurpose Them As Gift Boxes
Jewelry boxes come decorated to look great. Instead of buying new boxes the next time you give a gift, you can reuse the boxes. This way, you not only keep the boxes away from the landfill but also cut your carbon footprint further by ensuring you don’t contribute to the making of new boxes.
I love giving gifts in beautiful but reusable packaging. I made fabric gift bags a few years ago that were perfect for this!
Return Them to the Store
Did you buy your jewelry from a small, local store? They will likely have a program for collecting used boxes that are still in excellent shape from their customers. Talk to them and see what plans they’ve got. By returning the boxes, the store can reuse them when selling jewelry to other customers instead of ordering new boxes.
There are likely second hand stores in your area that could benefit from your gently used jewelry boxes, too. This would allow them to sell their jewelry items in a pretty box which is a win for them as well as their customers!
Use Them As Decoration
Depending on the material used for the jewelry box, you can spice up the look and feel of a space by painting the boxes in various colors, sticking them together with glue, and placing them strategically.
You can use them as a frame for a picture, an inspirational quote, or an artwork.
Organizing Small Items in a Drawer
Unused jewelry boxes (cardboard or plastic) can be great to keep small items organized in a desk drawer or even a junk drawer. They are the perfect size for stamps, paperclips, coins, or other small items.
Finding ways to repurpose things within our homes can be really satisfying!
Donate Them to Recycling Advocacy Groups
Many organizations work hard to encourage people to recycle as many items as possible. You need to find some of them and see if they can take the boxes off your hands. Some of them include the following:
- Freecycle.org: This is an online network that makes it easy for people to give away or find free stuff in their community. It is a great way to sustainably dispose of your jewelry boxes. The boxes could end up in a local thrift store or the hands of a teacher or a handcraft professional. The teacher can use the boxes as part of a lesson, while the craftsperson can convert the boxes into a nice little work of art.
- Earth911.com: This is a directory that shows you the local reuse and recycling options available to you. They also provide lots of tips and tricks on recycling that can come in handy when you are thinking of keeping your jewelry boxes out of the landfill.
After spending time on the above websites you'll likely find other items in your home you can recycle!
Buy Jewelry Without Boxes
If you already have some boxes, consider picking up your jewelry from the store without having it placed in a box. It may sound obvious, but you probably haven’t thought of it. To keep the number of jewelry boxes you have down, don’t bring in new ones. The new jewelry you buy can go into any of your existing boxes.
Jewelry boxes can be recycled, depending on the material(s) used in making them. If you have boxes that can’t be easily recycled, you’ll have to get creative on how to keep them away from the landfill.
In many cases, all you need to do is give the boxes a new purpose as some of them are very durable and can last a very long time.
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