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Can I Recycle Wrapping Paper?

If you're trying to be a bit more planet-friendly this festive period, take a look at this handy guide for what can and cannot be recycled.

The materials that go into making some wrapping paper result in it not always being accepted for recycling, including:

  • 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 sticky tape attached to it which makes it very difficult to recycle.

Tips for recycling wrapping paper:

  • Before recycling, remove any sticky tape and decorations such as ribbons and bows as these cannot be recycled.
  • Wrapping paper can only be recycled if it passes the scrunch test - simple paper wrap can be recycled but foil or glitter-decorated paper cannot and needs to go into the general waste.

Important: Some councils will accept wrapping paper in their household recycling collection scheme but others will not as wrapping paper is not accepted by some recycled paper mills, so please check with them first.

Are there ways to be more eco-friendly than recycling wrapping paper?

The short answer is yes. You can do this by using alternatives that are made from sustainable sources, to begin. Some great alternatives to usual wrapping paper are:

  • Fabric gift bags
  • Mesh wrappers
  • Old newspapers
  • Boxes

Why don't you reuse what you have lying around the house?. You can use newspapers, magazine pages, maps and many more. To spruce up your gifts why not decorate them with natural materials like pine cones and berries?

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