Is Christmas Wrapping Paper Recyclable?

The short answer is yes, some Christmas wrapping paper can be recycled. In the UK most councils recycle paper, however wrapping paper which is contaminated with plastic or metal foils cannot be recycled.

Here’s how to spot wrapping paper which can’t be recycled (top tip - look at the image for typical non-recyclable wrapping paper and consumables)

  • Is the reverse of the wrapping paper silver?
  • Are there metallic silver or gold stripes or elements?
  • Is the paper very shiny?
  • Is the paper very thin or tissue-like?
  • Is there glitter on the wrapping paper?
  • When you scrunch the paper does it bounce back?

If any of the above is true then your gift wrap is not recyclable. When buying wrapping paper, look out for products which are made from recycled paper which clearly state they are recyclable.

At LittleGreen all of our wrapping paper is recyclable, FSC approved recycled stock and is printed with eco-friendly vegetable inks.

Are there times when recyclable wrapping paper can’t be recycled?

Yes, even if your gift wrap is recyclable there can be issues which will prevent it from being recycled. The number one culprit is sticky tape or ‘Sellotape’. This cannot be recycled with the paper, therefore often at the recycling plant, a sheet of recyclable wrapping paper will be sent to landfill if the tape is present. This is to prevent the whole batch of recycled paper from being contaminated.

To address this we sell our clear, biodegradable alternative to ‘Sellotape’ called ‘Biotape. Biotape is made from cellulose with a glue made from natural rubber. Cellulose is an organic compound found in wood and cotton which safely biodegrades. If your gifts are wrapped with Biotape you can simply remove the tape from your wrapping paper and place it in your general waste bin or in your composter, safe in the knowledge that It will biodegrade in 60-90 days.

Please remember to remove any bows or ribbons from your wrapping paper before recycling it too.

Wrapping paper packaging

Often the packaging which accompanies your wrapping paper is not recyclable. For example, the shrink-wrap plastic around a roll of wrapping paper is often an issue. To avoid this we minimise the packaging we use and ensure that it is created from easily recyclable materials such as paper and card.

Does it make a difference if I buy eco-friendly wrapping paper?

The short answer is yes it does make a difference. Every year in the UK over 125,000 tons of unrecyclable wrapping paper ends up in landfill over the festive period. This pollutes the environment and is a huge waste of natural resources. The plastics do not biodegrade for hundreds or even thousands of years.

There is also an unexpected downside. Due to the taxes paid per ton of landfill, plastic wrapping paper currently costs the British taxpayer over £7 million pounds a year each Christmas.