Recycling wrapping papers and cards | How to have a greener Christmas?

It’s well-known that our household waste increases considerably during the Christmas season. According to data provided by the leading recycling campaign Recycle Now, we use almost 300, 00 tonnes of card packaging in UK household during the festive season.

It means:

  • Card packaging used at Christmas could cover Big Ben almost 260,000 times
  • It also would cover the return distance between London and Lapland 103 times

Yes, these figures are impressive. And yes, we are all responsible in some way for these statistics. I have been to Grand Central yesterday in the afternoon and the number of people shopping for Christmas is really scary.

This is certainly the busiest weekend of December for retailers. And everybody wants to guarantee the last-minute presents for friends, family and loved ones. It means that cards and wrapping papers shops will be busier as well.


Recycling Now is asking people to consider recycling wrapping papers and cards already thinking ahead in the reuse of those materials next season.

To be honest, we could be more considerable with the mother nature and start thinking about Wishing our Merry Christmas and Happy New Year via Social Media. The care is the same, just change the wasting. But I know some people are really attached to traditions.


So, let’s think about recycling our Christmas wasting, please.

All paper, including wrapping paper, is recyclable. The only types of wrapping paper that can’t go in the recycling bin are the shiny metallic and glitter varieties.  If in doubt, test it out with the ‘scrunch test’ – if you literally scrunch the paper in your hand and it stays in a ball, it can be put into the recycling. 

The Scrunch Test:

 The scrunch test is a simple way to determine whether wrapping paper is made from metallised plastic film. Simply scrunch the item in your hand – if it remains ‘scrunched’ it can be recycled; if it springs back it is probably metallised plastic film and not recyclable.

I have learnt my lesson for buying the shiny metallic paper before. It’s not a good option to wrap up ANY kind of present. They can be beautiful, different and cool. But they also damage the planet and we can’t justify this wasting in the name of a fancier “season’s greeting”. Sorry. Shame on me. Shame on us.


Another creative thought for the festive season could prepare your own Christmas card with materials that are easier to be recycled. I have noticed over the year that some of our dear friends create their own cards. They are unique indeed. And we appreciate the type of material they used to it. Thank you, guys!


Reusable papers:

I personally recycle my wrapping paper and Christmas bags that people give to me. Yes, sorry about the spoiler but the bag you are receiving with your present this year was given for someone else to me last Christmas. This way, I am recycling it for several years. I probably do the same on Birthday occasions too. Sorry.

Remember: less is always more. I practically do the same with wrapping papers too. People spend seconds unwrapping their presents, anyway. It is not a big deal.

Here are six festive recycling tips from Recycle Now:

  1. Save space at home by dropping items at your local recycling centre – you can find your nearest stop on Recycle Now’s Recycling Locator at
  2. Flatten cardboard boxes before recycling to save room in the recycling container
  3. Remove ribbons, bows and other adornments before recycling wrapping paper
  4. Make sure all food is out of card and paper packaging before recycling
  5. Keep card or paper packaging with glitter out of the recycling container
  6. Remember the scrunch test!

Source |


Posted by

I'm a Brazilian journalist based in West Midlands. In Brazil, I have worked with International Trade and Logistics publications. Now in the UK, I keep writing and I dedicate myself to a new project : Midlands Trade - a blog focused on business in Europe and Brazil. It's also supporting small businesses throughout the #MeetTheBusiness.

2 thoughts on “Recycling wrapping papers and cards | How to have a greener Christmas?

  1. I really enjoyed this post as I have the same conflict between loving gift wrapping and worrying about the waste. I spent some time in November designing recycled cards and gift wrapping too so this post was very relevant and timely. 🙂

  2. Thanks for your comment Dayz. It is always good to know it is useful for more people. The more we care about those simple things, the more we will make this planet a good place to live :O) Thanks again! x

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