What to do with
When it comes to Christmas wrapping paper if you can scrunch it and it stays scrunched then you can recycle it! Avoid buying glittery and foil wrapping paper as this is not recyclable.
Wrapping paper should be recycled alongside paper and card through your recycling bin collection or at your nearest household recycling centre.
Where possible remove sticky tape, tags and ribbons from wrapping paper before recycling - however a little sticky tape is ok as these plastic items can be separated from the paper at the paper mill (much like the plastic window of an envelope).
Choose wrapping paper that isn’t glittery or contains foil and if possible double check that you can scrunch it and its stays scrunched in a ball.
Sellotape or sticky tape is not recyclable and a single-use plastic that is hard to replace. So if you are going to use it, try to use as little as possible and only what you need and remove what you can before recycling.
Don’t forget that wrapping paper tubes are made of card and can be recycled.
What cannot be recycled?
Foil and glittery wrapping paper:
- Foil wrapping paper tends to be made from polypropylene a type of plastic which cannot be recycled alongside paper
- Glittery wrapping paper cannot be recycled as most glitter is microplastic and cannot be recycled
- Wrapping paper is often dyed, laminated and/or contains non-paper additives such as gold and silver coloured shapes, glitter, plastics etc which cannot be recycled
- Some wrapping paper is very thin and contains few good quality fibres for recycling
- A lot of wrapping paper has too much sticky tape attached to it which makes it very difficult to recycle
How should I recycle it?
Wrapping paper can be recycled alongside paper and card. Always check with your local council what can and cannot be recycled as some councils will accept wrapping paper with your household recycling collection but others will not.
- Most councils allow wrapping paper to be put in your paper and card recycling bin at home
- Other councils ask for wrapping paper to be recycled at the nearest household recycling centre
Environmentally-aware gift wrap options
Buy recycled. Try to buy wrapping paper made from recycled materials. Sometimes this isn’t so easy to find in the shops, but these websites are helpful:
- Re-wrapped, Hobbycraft, RSPB, Paperchase, Ikea and Recycled Paper Supplies all sell recycled wrapping paper products
- Reuse cardboard boxes and tubes to help disguise your gifts (or make them easier to wrap!)
Tips for plastic-free gift wrapping
- Using plain brown paper and fixing with ribbon or string to avoid using sticky tape at all - however ribbon or string is non-recyclable so reuse where possible
- Natural string such as hemp, jute or wool twine ticks a lot of eco-boxes(!) and looks great too
- Plantable seed paper - the biodegradable paper is impregnated with seeds so once you’ve unwrapped your present, you can plant it the garden
- Opt for gift bags that can be reused over and over again or try something new and learn the Japanese traditional art of gift wrapping using fabric called Furoshiki