‘Tis the season to be jolly. You’ll soon be wrapping gifts in colourful paper and glittery ribbons to spread beneath the Christmas tree. But once Christmas is over and all the presents have been unwrapped, what should you do with the mountain of leftover paper? While you can recycle most wrapping paper, not all types are recyclable. Here’s what you need to know.
Most wrapping paper can be recycled if it is indeed paper. This also includes Christmas cards, gift bags, and cardboard boxes. One way to test if it’s paper is to scrunch up the gift wrap in your hand. If it remains balled up, there’s less of a chance of it containing foil which means it can go into the recycling bin. If you still have the original packaging of the gift wrap, you could check its composition to make sure it’s 100% paper.
It’s normal to assume that gift wrap is made of paper. But here are a few good pointers to look out for.
- Wrapping paper that contains glitter, foil or metallic bits is usually not recyclable because they contain components other than just paper.
- Ribbons tend to be made from all sorts of material and do not belong in the paper recycling bin.
- The same goes for bows which are usually made of plastic or a plastic-paper mix. You should ensure that bows are removed from any gift wrapping before you recycle them.
- Gift bags can be recycled if they’re made from paper. If they contain glitter or metallic elements, they don’t belong in the paper recycling bin.
- The same goes for Christmas or birthday cards. Any elaborate plastic, metallic or glittery elements on the cards, don’t recycle them with the wrapping paper.
Christmas and gift wrapping paper can go into the paper bin and be recycled at a dedicated facility. If you’re not sure which recycling bin is used for gift wrapping paper, you can check with your local council on the best way to recycle and drop off any items of paper.
But why throw out your paper and bags? There are plenty of alternatives to getting rid of wrapping paper. Whether it’s the recyclable or non-recyclable kind, we’ve got some ideas for you here:
- Turn your paper into pretty envelopes. You can use them all year round or during the next festive season.
- Unless the paper and ribbons have been ripped to shreds by the recipient, simply fold the paper and reuse it next year.
- For paper that can’t be reused, you could shred it into confetti and use it during a party.
- Old wrapping paper can also be useful to wrap delicate glassware, porcelain or Christmas baubles in for proper storage.
- You can craft bows or other decorations from leftover wrapping paper.
Gift paper and ribbons aren’t your only options to wrap your presents with. Alternatives to wrapping paper include:
- Eco-friendly paper
- Reuseable fabric wrap
- Jars, tins or cans
- Reusable gift baskets
Feeling inspired? Get craft this Christmas with our Christmas craft ideas and sign up with Ask Team Clean for more inspiration.