Wrapping paper

Can wrapping paper be recycled?

Wrapping paper that doesn’t contain foil or plastic is generally accepted by most councils as part of household kerbside recycling collections. An easy way to determine if wrapping paper is suitable for recycling is to perform the 'scrunch test.' If you can scrunch it and it stays scrunched, it can be recycled. However, if it returns to its original shape, it cannot be recycled.

Wrapping paper with sticky tape, ribbons, or tags still attached is more difficult to recycle, even if it passes the scrunch test. It may be fiddly to do, but removing these accessories will help ensure proper recycling.

You could look for more sustainable alternatives to wrapping paper. Here are some suggestions:

  • Plain brown paper. You could use stamps to add some nice patterns
  • A fabric gift bag or a homemade version, to repurpose any unwanted materials, an old scarf for example
  • A child’s drawing or painting could be used as wrapping to give a gift a more personal touch
  • Newspaper or pages from a magazine

How to repurpose used wrapping paper

For wrapping paper that can’t be recycled, we have a few creative suggestions that could prolong its use: 

  • Shred it or scrunch it to use it as protective packaging for a house move or when posting fragile items
  • Make small gift tags from it to use on future gifts • Cover schoolbooks with it to help keep them protected
  • If undamaged, save it and use it to wrap up other gifts
  • Use a glue or sealer and use the paper to get creative. For example, cover an old picture frame and make it more fun and colourful