Can We Recycle Wrapping Paper?
Wrapping presents can be a creative outlet for some and a last minute chore for others. A well wrapped gift can take time, effort and a good grasp of colour coordination — but it’s not always eco-friendly.
Wrapping paper — despite the name — is not always made out of just paper and as such it is not always easy to recycle. Here are some things to look out for to know which bin to your gift wrap should go in.
Boring might be best
Paper with more decorative and flamboyant features, such as glitter, foiling and embellishments are less likely to be recyclable. Wrapping paper goes through a process of dying, lamination and can contain non-paper elements including plastics which unfortunately cannot be recycled.
It may be best to save the ‘fancy’ paper for smaller and special gifts, and use more simple gift wrap for larger ones. Beautifully wrapped presents are not always extravagant, and most people care more about what’s on the inside anyway.
If you use recycled wrapping paper it can likely be recycled again, so this may be a reliable option if you prefer more decorative paper.
Remember to take off the extras
Unfortunately, a lot of wrapping paper finds its way to the landfill for preventable reasons — it has sticky tape on it! Tape is not recyclable and should be removed from your paper before putting it in the recycling bin.
This also applies to any ribbons and bows that may be attached to the wrapping paper. These decorative additions are not recyclable, but they are reuseable so be sure to save them for future gifts or craft projects.
Try the ‘scrunch’ method
If you’re not sure whether your paper can be recycled, scrunch it into a ball. If the paper stays in a ball form then it is likely recyclable, if it unfolds itself then it probably cannot be recycled.
Here’s a quick demonstration of the scrunch method:
Finally, ditch the paper all together
If you are looking for the ultimate in sustainable gift wrapping, try using fabric instead of paper. Using scarves, fabric scraps or even tea towels can be a stylish way present your gifts in a reuseable wrapping.
Using clothes to wrap items is not a new phenomenon and the practice has been done for centuries in some cultures. One such method is Furoshiki which are a type of a traditional Japanese wrapping clothes, that offer an eco-friendly and beautiful way of presenting gifts.
What happens to wrapping paper once you throw it away can seem like a minor issue, but by taking just a couple small steps to ensure it can be recycled a lot of waste can avoid the landfill.