The good gift-wrap guide: Are you ready for the big throwaway?

It will soon be that time of year when treetops are glistening and children listening. There is always much to do and, in the midst of the excitement, making considered choices about paper recycling might not be your top priority. But it is significant. By the end of the festive season people in the UK will have ripped their way through almost 90 square kilometres of wrapping paper (enough to gift wrap a small city).

Unfortunately, not all of this paper can be recycled; so, how do you decide whether the paper, tags and ribbons stuffed in your bins will be a ‘naughty’ or ‘nice’ gift for the recycling plant?

The first thing to realise is that not all ‘wrapping paper’ is paper: some is plastic-based. Most shiny wrapping papers are laminated. Shiny papers, foil wrapping and wrapping that has glitter on cannot be recycled. Decorative bows and ribbons are not recyclable either, but with a little care at present-opening time you might be able to keep these and reuse them next year!

The good news is if you stay away from foils, glitters, laminated paper and plastic add-ons, you should be able to recycle almost all your wrapping paper once you’ve finished with it.

BUT remember to remove any sticky tape or plastic tags.

Is there a quick and easy way to check for paper recyclability? Yes! Scrunch the wrapping paper into a ball. If it scrunches, and stays scrunched, it can probably be recycled. And if you’ve bought recycled wrapping paper in the first place, it can probably be recycled again.

Enjoy the season and, whatever colour wrapping paper you choose, try to make it green.

Find out where to take rubbish or recycling here:
England and Northern Ireland: