It’s the season to be jolly and that means you’ll soon be wrapping up the gifts in colourful papers and glittery ribbons to spread them out beneath the Christmas tree. But once Christmas morning is over and all the presents have been unwrapped, what should you do with the mountain of paper and festive gift decor that’s left? While you can recycle most wrapping paper, not all types are recyclable. Putting non-paper items into the recycling bin can cause major issues for recycling centre. 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 its 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 the gift wrap came, you could check its composition to make sure it’s 100% paper.
It’s normal to assume that gift wrap is made of paper. So don’t sweat it. 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 it contains 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. That’s why you should ensure that bows are removed from any gift wrapping before you recycle it.
- Gift bags can be recycled if they’re made from paper. If they contain glitter or metallic elements, they don’t belong into the paper bin.
- The same goes for Christmas or birthday cards. If there are elaborate plastic, metallic or glittery elements on the cards, don’t recycle them with the rest of the wrapping paper.
Christmas and gift-wrapping paper will go into the paper bin and be recycled by a dedicated facility. If you’re not sure which rubbish bin should be used for gift wrapping paper, you can check with your local council about the best way to recycle and where to drop off any items of paper.
But why trash your paper and bags at all? 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 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 in. Alternatives to wrapping paper include:
- Eco-Friendly paper
- Fabric wrap that can be reused
- Jars, tins, and cans
- Reusable gift baskets
Now you know that some wrapping paper is recyclable are you feeling inspired? Get crafting this Christmas with our Christmas DIY craft ideas, spring decoration DIYs and how to how to make homemade dog toys for more inspiration.