I was very surprised a couple of years ago when I found out that the majority of wrapping paper used for everyone’s presents could not be recycled – let alone all the sellotape, plastic ribbons, glitter and fancy decorations that end up in landfill.
FACT: In 2018, it was noted that the UK alone, gets through 100 MILLION rolls of wrapping paper each Christmas. This is approximately 227,000 miles of paper – enough to wrap the equator NINE times!
It is highly likely that your wrapping paper has been laminated, had inks and dyes added to it, or is textured, covered in glitter or metallic bits. It now contains sooo many plastics and films that if you try to recycle this, it leads to recycling contamination and in fact makes the whole load unrecyclable. All of those trees cut down and an outstanding amount of energy and resources used to produce the paper in the first place, makes disposing of this a really big issue with very a harmful impact on our planet.
Fear not, there are many other ways that you can gift wrap your presents to make them look like the elves did it! An easy solution to reducing your wrap waste is to use gift bags that can be used over and over. Use stockings and use mason jars with colourful items inside!
My favourite way to wrap presents, and probably the most popular alternative, is to wrap in brown paper that CAN be recycled (yay). I do think the plain paper look is aesthetically pleasing, especially at Christmas. I like to pair this with a simple piece of sparkly string or ribbon, that can be untied and reused the following year. I did this last year and I’ll most certainly be doing it again this year too.
I know that to some people this may look boring and you might think that it doesn’t compete with the reindeer glitter covered paper from Tesco. But why not doodle on the paper? Draw your own reindeers? Write the person’s name and personalise it a bit – I do this a lot on birthday gifts! Find things to decorate the paper with, with string or ribbon, or with Christmas eco-friendly stamps to jazz it up a bit.