Holiday Dilemma: Is Wrapping Paper Recyclable?

After opening all your neatly placed gifts from under the Christmas tree, you end up with a mound of waste wrapping paper.

  • But what do you do with it?
  • Is wrapping paper recyclable?

Well, there seems to be a bit of confusion when it comes to recycling Christmas wrapping paper.

Simon Ellin, the chief executive of the recycling association, said…

It’s a nightmare for paper mills this time of year as not all wrapping paper is paper.

Simon Ellin

And it’s no surprise no one knows what to do with it.

So, can you recycle wrapping paper?

The short answer is it depends on the wrapping paper. With so many plastics based wrapping papers out there; it’s hard to tell what you can recycle and what you can’t.

Can You Put Wrapping Paper In The Recycling Bin?

An un-laminated piece of paper can go in your recycling bin. The problem is with laminated and textured wrapping paper because they can’t get recycled due to the plastic inside.

Most people don’t think about it and stick it in altogether. Unfortunately, this means the wrapping paper will end up in landfill sites with all the other trash.

The problem got so bad some local councils won’t take it. And even more paper mills aren’t willing to take the wrapping paper in fear of contamination.

Dump truck at a landfillThat means even if you’re using recyclable wrapping paper, it might still end up in a dump truck on its way to a landfill.

To make it worse:

Recycling plants in China have started to crack down on what they accept from the US. The Chinese government did not desire Their recycling habit.

This is only making the process of recycling wrapping paper even harder. The best option is to ring your local recycling center to see if the wrapping paper can be recycled in your area.

Wrapping paper is getting used, but not recycled, what effect does this have on our environment?

Is Wrapping Paper Environmentally Friendly?

It’s thought that 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper are produced every year, with 2.3 million pounds ending up in our landfill sites.

That’s a staggering amount of paper getting used every year.

And like I mentioned before a lot of the wrapping paper is plastic-based. Which, by now, we should all know the damage plastics are doing to our environment.

Trees that have been cut down It’s not just the plastic that damages our environment; it’s the number of trees we need to cut down to produce the paper in the first place.

Logging trees for paper is slowly killing our jungles, forests, and the animals that live there.

And the carbon footprint created in the whole process also becomes an issue. Especially when the trees that we cut down help to stop greenhouse gases damaging our planet.

If you want to help the environment make sure you buy recycled wrapping paper or at the very least, reuse the old stuff.

How Long Does Wrapping Paper Take To Decompose?

If the wrapping paper ends up in our trash; will it decompose?

It’s thought that wrapping paper should decompose within 2 to 6 weeks, but that’s only if it’s not plastic-based.

Plastic based gift wrap comes with its issues, due to the nature of plastic it’s unlikely it will decompose unless it’s subjected to the right condition:

  • Heat
  • Oxygen
  • Sunlight

When placed in landfill sites, it’s unlucky ever to get the right conditions. The nature of landfill sites is to pile mounds of trash on top each. Which, means it’s unlikely ever to see sunlight again and quite often doesn’t get oxygen.

Wrapping paper is made from biodegradable material, but unfortunately due to the plastics involved that isn’t always the case.

What Can I Use Instead Of Wrapping Paper?

You do have a few options when it comes to alternatives, I’ve compiled a list of few things that you can use to replace gift wrap:

Gift basket

  • Baskets – Gift baskets aren’t a new idea, but everyone does love a gift basket. So, instead of hiding your gifts under wrapping paper, you could proudly display them in a basket. The best thing is it’s reusable.
  • Tissue paper – If you’re like me, you might save all the tissue paper that’s used to secure your packages. Why not reuse it? As long as it’s not scrunched up, it can make an excellent alternative to wrapping paper. On the plus side it also recyclable.
  • Maps – In the digital world, do we need maps anymore? If you have any lying around the house, why not wrap your boxes with them. If you have any travellers in your family, they might appreciate a gift wrapped in their favorite travel location.
  • Clay pots – This works similarly to using baskets. You neatly arrange all your little presents into the plant pots to make it look pretty. To add a bit of style, you could wrap it ribbon or paint it to give it a customized feel.
  • Photos – Why not use some old photos you have lying around the house? It adds a lovely touch to your gift — a nice personal touch for your family or friends.
  • Old word searches – It can be great for kids; keeping them entertained during the holiday is no easy task. Wrapping cardboard boxes in past word searches, it might keep them entertained while they wait for their next gift.

To Wrap It Up

Yes, wrapping paper is recyclable, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. There are rules you need to follow to make sure it gets recycled. If you don’t, you risk contaminating the paper mill.

With the holiday period just around the corner, You might want to know what to do with your boxes well you can find out in: is cardboard biodegradable. If you like what you’ve read, don’t forget to comment and share below.

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