Is Christmas Wrapping Paper Recyclable?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: October 2, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

All of us want to do our share in recycling whenever possible, especially when there is a ton of trash to deal with. 

The Christmas season is one of those times when gift wrap is abundant and thrown out. 

Is it possible to save all of those wrappings to use for paper recycling?  Here’s what you need to know about wrapping paper and how to dispose of your gift wrap this holiday season. 

Different Types of Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper comes in different forms. Here are a few of the textures that are available:

  • Paper
  • Colored Tissue Paper
  • Kraft
  • Metallic
  • Metallic Glitter
  • Foil

Regular paper that can be scrunched into a ball is perfect for recycling. 

There are light and heavy textures of paper that are suitable for pure recycling or mixed recycling. 

Mixed recycling occurs when the quality of paper is not up to the standards of paper needed for recycled products. 

However, they can be used for less fiber-dense goods.

Colored tissue paper is made with low-grade paper and is not accepted in most communities for recycling. 

The fibers have to be long enough to be processed and thin paper does not qualify just like paper towels and toilet tissue.

Kraft paper is compatible with brown paper grocery sacks and is easily recyclable for high-quality products. 

Many people use Kraft paper as gift wrap for a country look. It has a sturdy texture and is great for reuse. 

Metallic gift wrap is usually not recyclable. The shiny gloss comes from clay that has to be removed before processing for recycling. 

This makes for a costly process to prepare for recycling. 

Metallic glitter gift wrap is even more unsuitable for recycling than metallic gift wrap. 

The glitter cannot be removed and makes the entire sheet recyclable. Save this type of paper for reuse or discard as trash.

Foil has never been accepted for recycling purposes. It is not that the foil is not of quality material, but aluminum foil must be dirt-free to be accepted. 

Not knowing whether foil has been contaminated stops the recycling process before it has a chance to get started.

Never Recycle these Materials 

  • Foil
  • Plastic Coating
  • Ribbon
  • Bows
  • Glitter

Receiving a gift wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper is often accompanied by bows, ribbon, and other festive items. 

While some types of gift wrap may be recyclable, the garnishments on the paper are not. 

Tape that is coated with plastic and a sticky surface has to be removed. Shiny bows, ribbons, and glitter must be trashed. 

Paper Grades for Recycling

Paper comes in different grades for recycling. Mixed paper is a broad category that can include items such as discarded mail, telephone books, paperboard, magazines, and catalogs. 

Certain types of Christmas wrapping paper can also be included in the mix, but not all. 

Mixed paper can be used for products such as paperboard and tissue. 

Using Newsprint as Gift Wrap

Remember when the colorful comic strips were used as a type of gift wrap? Any type of newsprint is recyclable and can save as many as 17 pine trees per one ton of newspapers. 

This gives new meaning to how we can see newspapers as a decorative way to present Christmas gifts. 

Highlighted with festive bows and ribbons that are easily removed can be an economical and recyclable purpose for holiday wrapping 

Reuse Corrugated Boxes

Don’t let those Christmas gifts contained in corrugated boxes end up in the trash. 

Cardboard has a high-recyclable rate for making more corrugated boxes. 

However, think about the life thvat can be used before adding it to the recycling pile. Boxes can be used for shipping, storing, regifting, and organizing. 

Wrap with Recycling in Mind

Before picking up that shiny, glittery Christmas gift wrap, think ahead on where this paper will end up in the future. 

Do the scrunch test to make sure that your paper is recyclable. Select a neutral color that can be used for different occasions and reuse. 

Use your imagination and decorate with colored ribbons or get out the colored pencils and try your artistic abilities. 

Smiley faces, snowmen, or animals (if you are excellent at drawing) are some ideas that will make your gift stand out and make a fun impression. 

Another great idea for Christmas gift wrap is going furoshiki. 

This is a traditional Japanese method for wrapping gifts in fabric and has become very popular in the last few years. 

Good quality fabric lasts forever!

The cardboard tube is a great recyclable product so add this to your paper recyclables and fold up the paper to use over again. 

When your gift wrap has finally served its purpose, over and over again, remove as much tape as possible and place it in the recyclable bin. 

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