Are Christmas Bags Recyclable?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: September 21, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Each year we purchase thousands of Christmas gifts. Each of these gifts gets wrapped usually out of non-recyclable materials. 

For instance, each year Canadians toss out 540,000 tons of gift wrapping and bags.

Recycling is a solution to tossing trash into the landfills. 

But are Christmas bags recyclable?

What are Christmas Bags Made of?

Christmas bags made of all types of materials. I find it is easiest to divide them into two categories – recyclable and non-recyclable. 

If you have the option, this season choose a recyclable Christmas bag.

Non-Recyclable Christmas Bags

Plastic Christmas bags are non-recyclable. Nor are the paper bags with a thin layer of plastic. 

Often you will find that even the non-plastic coated paper bags are adorned with non-recyclable materials–

  • Feathers
  • Glitter
  • Fake gems
  • Foam cut-outs
  • Ribbon

Recyclable Christmas Bags

Cloth and paper bags are types of recyclable Christmas bags. You can find a variety of cloth bags all made of different materials. 

Paper bags are made of a renewable resource. And they can be recycled with other paper products. 

Look carefully at your paper Christmas bags – some have metal rings for the handles. Make sure to remove the metal ring before putting the bag in the recycling bin. 

Can You Put Gift Bags in Recycling?

Putting your gift bag in the recycling bin depends on the material of the bag. 

Paper gift bags that do not have a plastic coating can be put in the recycling bin. 

Make sure to check for any metal pieces that might be on the bag. If you find any – remove it before putting in the recycling bin. 

You also might need to remove the gift bag handle depending on its material.

Cloth bags are a good alternative to traditional gift bags. However, they cannot be put in the recycling bin. 

Cloth gift bags can be reused or upcycled into something new. Unlike plastic gift bags, cloth bags are biodegradable. 

So, when they do end-up in the landfill, they will decompose in a short amount of time.

What Can You Do With Old Christmas Bags?

There are so many things you can do with old Christmas bags. Sure, you can recycle paper bags. 

But for the gift bags, you cannot recycle; you can give them a new life. The same is true for recyclable gift bags. 

You can give them a new life before putting them in the recycling bin. 

My favorite ways to reuse old Christmas bags include –

  • Turn the gift bags into wrapping paper
  • Reuse as shopping bags
  • Create greeting cards
  • Make them into wall décor
  • Scrapbooking paper
  • Journal covering
  • Christmas paper chain

 Can Glossy Gift Bags Be Recycled?

Glossy gift bags are typically made of a mixture of paper and plastic.

Because of this, glossy gift bags are not recyclable. 

I think it’s best to avoid using glossy gift bags.

There are a variety of recyclable gift bag options. 

If you are given a glossy bag, you can reuse it instead of tossing it out.

Where Can I Recycle Christmas Bags?

You can recycle Christmas bags if they are made of paper. You can put paper gift bags in the paper recycle bin. 

If the gift bag has paper handles, you can leave them on. You will need to remove handles made of any other material.

Before recycling paper Christmas bags, make sure to remove any non-paper adornments. You cannot recycle paper gift bags that are wet. 

Or if they have been soiled with food or dirt. If only a portion of the gift bag is soiled, just remove that portion and recycle the rest.

  • Preparing a Christmas bag for recycling-
  • Paper bags only
  • Remove non-paper handles
  • Remover ornamentation (ribbons, faux gems, etc.)

Are Christmas Bags Bad for the Environment?

In some ways, all Christmas bags are bad for the environment. That is if you consider the raw material extraction process. 

Then consider the energy it takes to manufacture the Christmas bags. And the energy it takes to transport the gift bags to the consumer.

If we are only considering the disposal of Christmas bags, then some are worse than others. 

Whether or not Christmas bags are bad for the environment depends on the bag. Christmas bags are made of different materials. 

Some are recyclable, some biodegradable, and some non-recyclable.

Christmas bags made of paper or cloth are not bad for the environment. 

This is because the paper is both recyclable and biodegradable. 

And cloth bags are biodegradable.

What Are the Best Recyclable Christmas Bags?

To be recyclable in our current recycling system, the bag needs to be made of paper. 

Plain paper that is not coated in plastic. 

And that does not have non-paper decorations 

The following is a list of my favorite recyclable Christmas bags.

  • OurWarm 24 Piece Christmas Paper Gift Bags
  • Hallmark Sustainable Christmas Gift Bags for Kids
  • Haspolin Holiday Gift Bags

One of my favorite recyclable Christmas bags is OurWarm 24-piece Christmas paper gift bags. These bags are made of kraft paper. 

The bags have paper handles. And they come with paper tags. The bags are 7” x 9” x 3.5 “. 

The OurWarm Christmas paper gift bags are durable, reusable, and eco-friendly.

I also like the Hallmark Sustainable Christmas Gift Bags for Kids. You get eight recyclable kraft gift bags – three small, three medium, and two large bags. 

These bags are eco-friendly. And the paper used to make them comes from sustainably managed forests.

The Haspolin holiday gift bags come in a pack of twenty-four bags. There are three bags of each of the eight designs. 

The gift bags are made of kraft paper. This makes the bags recyclable. 

The bags are small, making them perfect for candies and small toys. 

These bags come with stickers, wooden clips, and hemp rope.

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