Can I recycle Christmas wrapping paper?

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Christmas morningYour little ones probably had heaps of fun tearing open a stack of colourfully wrapped pressies on Christmas morning.

Gift giving – and receiving – is one of the great joys of Christmas, but what’s the greenest way to discard wrapping paper after the big day?

Instead of throwing gift paper straight into the general waste, you might want to help the planet by recycling it. But it’s not simply a case of bagging it all up and sticking it in the allocated bin, there are a few factors to consider first.

All that glitters…

shiny wrapping paper

It looks so pretty, but paper that is laminated, or contains foil or glitter, cannot be recycled. In fact, many items of so-called wrapping “paper” aren’t actually paper at all. Many are plastic-based and therefore need to go in the general waste.

And some gift paper is so thin that it contains few good quality fibres, so this isn’t ideal for recycling either.

The scrunch test


The good news is, pure paper wrapping can be recycled. If you’re uncertain, Recycle Now advises trying the “scrunch test”.  Make a ball out of the cast-off wrapping paper and if it stays scrunched when you let go it is probably recyclable. Non-recyclable paper will spring open again - so you’ll know to add it to the general waste.

If the paper is fit for recycling, make sure it’s free from bows, tags and tape – none of which can be recycled.

Check the rules

Even if your paper is recyclable, not all councils accept wrapping paper in their household recycling collection scheme. Some will let you put it into your recycling bin for green disposal, while other authorities specify you must take it to a recycling centre, so it’s important to check this first.

Next Christmas

wrapping paper

If you want a greener Christmas next year, avoid wrapping presents in anything decorated with foil or glitter, or paper that is thick and glossy – it probably contains plastic. Look out for wrapping paper that explicitly says it's recyclable, as many supermarkets increasingly offer “greener” gift wrap.

Happy Boxing day!


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