Recycling expert warns of common wrapping paper mistakes

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  • A recycling expert has revealed some common mistakes we make with our festive wrapping paper. Samantha Jones from MyJobQuote is here to tell us how to make sure our gift wrap ideas for Christmas presents are environmentally friendly.

    Unfortunately, you can’t recycle wrapping paper in most areas, and duct tape left on boxes and paper is a problem as well.

    Image credit: Ginger Ray

    Do not remove the adhesive tape

    “Recycling properly and efficiently can be difficult,” admits Samantha, “because the recycling rules can be confusing”. The first mistake she mentions is leaving duct tape on any wrapping paper you use.

    MyJobQuote’s recycling expert warns that if you don’t remove the tape from used cardboard packaging or paper, it will become non-recyclable. Any wrapping paper or boxes with duct tape will end up in the landfill, she says.

    Adhesive tape is generally made from polypropylene, a type of plastic that is not recyclable. Fortunately, there are many alternatives, like bamboo and hemp ribbons, which are biodegradable.

    brown wrapping paper and red ribbons on christmas gifts

    Image credit: La Mégère coquine

    There is also 100% recyclable brown paper tape available on Amazon. Generally speaking, these eco tapes can be left on the packaging before recycling, but if in doubt, it is best to remove them.

    Trying to recycle glitter, laminated wrapping paper

    In most areas, you cannot recycle wrapping paper. If you “want to recycle” your wrapping paper and still put it in your recycling bin, it could affect the entire contents of your bin.

    “Wrapping paper is often dyed and laminated and can also contain glitter and plastics, which just cannot be recycled,” says Samantha. “Other wrapping papers are very thin and don’t contain enough fiber to be recycled.”

    wrap christmas gifts in brown paper and velvet ribbon

    Image credit: Pain

    Replace the brightly colored, glittery paper with brown paper for a greener Christmas. Brown paper can be easily recycled, as long as there is no ink on the paper.

    You can also use gift bags rather than wrapping paper, as they can be reused over and over again. In addition, Primark now offers party bags that can be used as wrapping paper, giving your shopping bags a second life.

    Christmas Day often involves a trash bag or two filled to the brim with used wrapping paper. Taking a moment to peel off any tape or using recyclable tape and paper will make a big difference.