Updated: Oct 6
After all the excitement of Christmas , we are left with the aftermath of clearing away all the gift wrapping paper, cards, trimmings and all things festive. How many of us think about what can and cannot be recycled and do we make the effort anyway?
Well if you want to be on Santa's Nice and not Naughty list for next year , here are some tips for what can and what cannot be recycled with some alternative gift wrapping ideas for next Christmas.
What Can be Recycled?
We think that if its paper that it can all go into the recycle bin but it not necessarily the case, below is a basic list as a general guide but there are exceptions. You should always check with your local council too as they do vary from county to county depending on their facilities.
· Christmas cards
· Sweet and biscuit tins
· Envelopes (you may need to remove the windows)
· Glass bottles/ jars (There may be lots of these !)
· Selection boxes (cardboard section)
· Cardboard sweet cartons
· Plastic sweet/biscuit containers
· Catalogues/ magazines
· Advent calendar (cardboard section)
· Cardboard boxes
What Can't be Recycled?
A lot of modern sparkly papers and Christmas Cards and decorations contain materials that can not be recycled, these can include:
· Christmas crackers
· Plastic film
· Food waste
· Foil gift bags
· Foil/metalic wrapping paper
Common sense can be used here, if your wrapping paper has no foil or glitter obviously it can be recycled but make sure you take off any sticky tape first! Try to remove the loose strands from cardboard boxes and wrapping paper before recycling them too.
To establish if that beautiful gift wrap your presents came in is in fact paper, do the scrunch and tear test. Grab a handful of the gift wrap and scrunch up into a tight ball, when released if it springs out and bounces back to life, it may not be paper at all or contain very high levels of foil. To be sure, see if you can tear easily by hand, if not, that one cannot be recycled. Keep and eye out in January as some of the more responsible high street stores and supermarkets have special collection points for cards and paper that cannot be recycled.
We all love a bit of Christmas sparkle, glitter is so very popular on cards and wrapping papers, sparkling gift boxes and decor but did you know glitter is a nightmare for marine life. Most glitter is made from etched aluminium attached to polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a type of microplastic that can contaminate water, soil, and air. Its increased presence in all three may pose a threat to human health and ecosystems!
On a positive note, if you take the time to look at the packaging labels there are also brands that make glitter from plant cellulose instead of plastic.
So all that takes effort so how about a little compromise and re-use some of those pretty Christmas Cards but cutting them up and using for gift tags for next year. The Children also love to cut out elements from them to make their own posters and cards to give out to friends and family, not just for Christmas but all year round.
Make your own Wrapping Paper
Eco-friendly wrapping paper is easy to come by, take a look in our store. You can also use paper bags as gift bags. How about brown Kraft paper which is fully recyclable and biodegradable. Plus, if you’re crafty, you can decorate with festive patterns, let the kiddies loose with the stamps or pencils the minimalist look is nice too, finished off with twine or string and some wooden buttons or a sprig of some festive greenary.
Think outside the box for alternative gift wrapping ideas.
Think minimalist with some Kraft boxes and shredded paper or wood wool or paper tissue for that down to earth modern feel with some home crafted tags and string or twine to decorate, easily recyclable and reusable, available in our shop in different sizes. Lots of decorating ideas for these plain boxes are available on Pinterest.
If you would rather forget wrapping paper altogether, there are still ways you can keep the gift-opening experience interesting. Here are some ideas for alternative gift-wrapping . You can even forego traditional gift-giving altogether and opt for things like mason jars full of goodies such as chocolate chip cookies or chocolates. These are just some general ideas feel free to get creative with your gift-wrapping, like adding a sprig of evergreen from your Christmas tree.
How about old biscuit , toffee tins or tea boxes , some of them have beautiful patterns on them so you can up cycle them into gift boxes without having to buy anything new. Line them with tissue paper or shredded paper .
Cloth is a good option too because you have a little more flexibility as far as seasonal patterns go and it can be used again and again. Have you seen the trendy knot-wraps? Normally made from organic cotton and are perfect for gift-wrapping. They’re inspired by furoshiki, the traditional Japanese art of wrapping clothing and gifts. All you need to practice furoshiki is a square cloth that’s about 17×17 inches or 28×28 inches. Look online where you will find guides for the most common furoshiki wrapping styles. Cloth totes are another excellent Eco alternative for packing your gifts and reusable too.
We can all make that little bit more effort and reuse reduce and recycle at the time of year when so much more waste is produced and disposed of and whilst doing so we teach the children the art of recycling and caring for our planet.
Merry Christmas and a Happy Creative New Year from the Team at Eco Packaging Solutions!