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Brighton Journal | 31st May 2020

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What Christmas wrapping paper can be recycled?

What Christmas wrapping paper can be recycled?
Hannah Midgley
  • On 27th December 2018

The festive period of gift giving and receiving is coming to an end – but what should we do with all our used wrapping paper?

For many people, Christmas is the time for giving and receiving presents, which often leads to piles and piles of used wrapping paper. Although it is recognised as paper, not all gift wrap can be recycled as paper.

Most councils around the UK accept wrapping paper at recycling points, including Brighton and Hove City Council. Certain additives to the paper sometimes prevent the paper from being recyclable, including dyes, laminated paper, glitter, foils, and some plastics.

On their website, Brighton council states: “Please only recycle wrapping paper – foil or paper and cards covered in glitter can’t be recycled. Flatten any cardboard boxes and paper bags to make space in your recycling bins and boxes.” 

According to the Recycle Now website, you should also ensure sticky tape has been carefully removed as this makes it very difficult to recycle. Decorative wrapping such as string, ribbon, and bows should also be removed as these items are currently non-recyclable.

The recycling company also posit ‘the scrunch test‘: if it scrunches, it can be recycled. Foiled paper, which is often much thicker, cannot be reused and must go in general waste.

With environmental pressure mounting from climate change social movements, perhaps it is time to be more aware of how we are wrapping Christmas gifts. Numerous craft blogs have suggested using brown paper, which is widely recycled, with reusable decorations this year.

Alternatively, wrapping paper itself can also be reused if presents are unwrapped carefully – although this may be difficult to enforce with younger children who are excited about their gifts!

Other environmental organisations suggest being more conscious of the types of wrapping paper you are purchasing in the future. Papers already made from recycled materials are often much thinner, but widely recycled after use.

Brighton and Hove City Council have amended the recycling and waste collection timetable over the festive and New Year period. Visit their website for a full revised list.

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