Sustainability made simple

Can You Recycle Wrapping Paper? A Basic Guide

can you recycle wrapping paper
Foto: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Carla Luca de Tena

Can you recycle wrapping paper? Here’s a handy basic guide to which wrapping paper you can recycle. Read on to learn how you can be a greener gift-giver!

Wrapping paper that glitters and shines is not recyclable.
Wrapping paper that glitters and shines is not recyclable. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Pexels)

Right off the bat — not all wrapping paper is recyclable. This is due to added glitters, dyes, and glossy finishes. You can avoid unnecessary waste by learning which wrapping papers you can recycle. It’s a simple step that makes having greener, more sustainable holidays and special occasions easier!

You can recycle wrapping paper when it is plain, unlaminated, and made from recyclable materials. You can’t recycle it when it has glitter, plastic, sequins, foil or stickers. Furthermore, too much tape or ribbons can make it non-recyclable as well. Wrapping paper also can’t be recycled when it is too thin, as it doesn’t contain enough suitable fibers for recycling.

The easiest way to tell if gift wrap or wrapping paper is recyclable is to do the scrunch test: scrunch the wrapping paper into a ball — if it keeps its shape, you can throw it in the recycle bin. If it springs back, don’t.

How to Recycle Wrapping Paper

Remove all tape, ribbons and bows before disposing paper correctly.
Remove all tape, ribbons and bows before disposing paper correctly. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Pexels)

Before disposing of wrapping paper, gift bags or specialty tissue paper, remove all tape, ribbons, bows and labels. If recycled materials get mixed in with non-recyclables, it can complicate the sorting and recycling process at the recycling center. Materials that can’t be properly sorted are often sent to landfills — precisely what you want to avoid.

How to Repurpose and Reuse Wrapping Paper

Get creative with wrapping and become a greener gift-giver
Get creative with wrapping and become a greener gift-giver (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / AnnLarin)

Repurposing wrapping paper is an environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and fun way to reduce waste. Try out these crafty ways to reuse it next time you have some presents to give or receive!

  • Reuse: With some care, you can easily reuse most wrapping at least once or twice.
  • Recycle: Not all gifts must be wrapped in glittery, shiny wrapping paper. You can spruce up plain, recycled wrapping paper with ribbons, leaves, or pinecones. You could also customize it with your own photographs and artwork.
  • Use Alternatives: Old scraps of material, newspapers, posters, and old books can make beautiful and unique wrapping paper alternatives.
  • Go Zero Waste: Use baskets, gift boxes, or bags to give gifts — these tend to have a longer life and can be used over and over again.
  • Explore the Japanese Art of Furoshiki: Impress your friends and family by learning the traditional Japanese method for wrapping gifts using a scarf or cloth.

Avoid Gift-Wrapping Waste

To avoid gift-wrapping waste, try spreading the word to friends and family who might be unaware that they can’t recycle wrapping paper. Maybe you can all agree to use only recyclable wrapping paper or do a Furoshiki tutorial together.

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