Is Christmas Ribbon Recyclable?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: September 21, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Considering the awareness surrounding the need to recycle, and as we head towards the most wonderful time of the year, it begs the question: Is Christmas ribbon recyclable?

Whether it is the shiny plastic ribbon commonly used for extravagant Christmas bows or fabric ribbons that add a beautiful finishing touch to your gifts, they are mostly not recyclable

However, in the reduce, reuse, recycle canon, you can reuse Christmas ribbons, particularly those made from textiles like velvet or satin.

Different Types of Christmas Ribbon

Christmas ribbon is in one of two categories. These are:

  • Made from Inorganic Materials
  • Made from Organic Materials

These are further divided into three types:

Poly Ribbon

This ribbon is loved by florists and gift wrappers the world over for being waterproof and stain-resistant.

Poly ribbon is an inorganic non-recyclable ribbon characterized by its sturdiness, variety of colors, and the fact that it’s rather bad for the environment. 

It makes beautiful bows for Christmas gifts, but you should avoid it where possible.

Textile Ribbon

These are ribbons manufactured from velvet, satin, and grosgrain, among others. They add something extra to any gift, and if the receiver is careful, it can be reused for another gift or upcycled for another project or craft.

If the textile ribbon is manufactured from organic materials, then you may be able to recycle it.

Paper Ribbon

Paper raffia ribbon is recyclable and comes in a variety of colors. If you are trying to be eco-friendly and don’t see yourself reusing textile ribbon, then raffia is a good choice.

Some ribbons include wire to provide better structure and make ornate bows easier to create.

Is Christmas Ribbon Environmentally Friendly?

Christmas ribbon made of inorganic materials is not environmentally friendly (eco-friendly). 

However, you get a satin acetate ribbon manufactured from biodegradable wood pulp. 

Most Christmas ribbons, however, take upwards of a century to break down. 

Even if you purchase this satin acetate ribbon, you need to find a recycling plant willing to accept it. 

Ribbons are troublesome to recycling plants because they tend to wrap themselves around machines if they slip through sorting, and that can cause damage to the machines.

When disposing of ribbon, please remember to cut it up into small pieces to prevent the entanglement of animals or similar.

What Factors Affect Whether a Ribbon Is Eco-Friendly?

In addition to whether or not Christmas ribbon is recyclable, look for the following:

  • What type of dye has is used to color the ribbon? Chemical or Organic
  • Ribbons that contain metallic threads or stamped with glitter are not eco-friendly, even if made from natural fibers.
  • Ribbons made from plant-based fibers are the most sustainable.

What Can I Use Instead of Christmas Ribbon?

If I can’t use Christmas ribbon, then what are the options for finishing off gifts. 

Pinterest has many eco-friendly ideas, and even a light browse will provide some superb ideas 

  • Tie a spray of holly or tiny pinecones attached with recyclable thread or twine.
  • Use twine or string from natural fibers that are 100% recyclable, like Jute or Raffia
  • If you must use ribbon, use ribbon that can be reused or upcycled.
  • There are many decorative options using paper, including cutting out snowflakes and techniques for curling paper.
  • Using eco-friendly Christmas decorations that the receiver can use on their tree the following year.

Is Christmas Wrapping Paper Recyclable?

The scrunch test is critical. If you scrunch up wrapping paper and it remains in a ball, you can assume it is recyclable, and if it doesn’t stay in a ball, then it isn’t.

Before you throw the wrapping paper into the recycling bin, you must remove and discard anything not recyclable, like ribbon and sticky tape.

TIP: If it has glitter, it cannot be recycled.

Many environmentally friendly wrapping paper options are available, so you do not always have to resort to newspapers or DIY all your gift wrapping.

How to Make Your Christmas Eco-Friendly

Use your common sense and read the labels. If something or parts of something are recyclable, it will be marked with a universal recycling symbol.

Consider the following:

  • Can I use something other than wrapping paper and ribbon to wrap my gifts?
  • Do I have reusable gift bags? Many families rotate gift bags, and families may have a gift bag drawer.
  • Consider trawling thrift shops for beautiful scarfs to wrap your gifts in. 
  • Use natural, sustainable options where possible.

In Conclusion

Wrapping up Christmas or any gifts beautifully is a thoughtful way to demonstrate affection to the receiver. When considering gift wrapping with reduce, reuse, recycle try to:

  • Reduce the amount of non-recyclable ribbon you use
  • Use Christmas ribbons that the receiver can reuse.
  • Where possible, use ribbon alternatives that you can recycle.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different options, and you may be surprised at how it turns out.

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