Dreaming of a green Christmas, starting with gift wrap waste

Dreaming of a green Christmas, starting with gift wrap waste

By Ashmeeta Subra  December 13th, 2023

Amidst the excitement of unboxing Christmas presents, it’s important to remember the gift that keeps on giving – our environment. With that in mind, here’s a quick recycling guide and some tips to be more mindful of gift wrap waste this festive season.


From the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink to other natural services that support our health, happiness and prosperity, the natural world is our greatest provider. That is why it’s so important for us to support it through positive environmental actions.  

This applies to the festive period just as much as any other time of year, and one of the simplest actions one can take is to reduce the amount of gift wrapping being used. Instead of buying new, have a look around your home to materials you already have that could be used instead. For some simple ideas, check out our previous article on sustainable gift wrapping alternatives.    

As the holidays draw to an end however, households will almost always wind up with an abundance of different types of wrapping materials. If they are still in good condition, you can always store these for reuse next year. For the rest, it’s important to separate what can be recycled.  Common recyclable wrapping materials include:  

  1. Paper wrapping – Plain, non-glittery and non-metallic paper can usually be put in the recycling bin. If you’re out of wrapping paper options and find yourselves needing to buy some, we recommend looking for one that’s labelled as recyclable. If you aren’t sure, a good way to check recyclability is to try to tear it. If it tears like paper, it’s probably recyclable. 

  2. Cardboard – Materials such as corrugated cardboard, plain cardboards, and paperboards can be recyclable if they do not contain any shiny or glossy finishings that could affect its recyclability. Ensure you flatten these before chucking into the recycling bin. 

  3. Paper cards, and paper gift bags – These are recyclable if they do not contain embellishments like glitter or metallic foils. Ensure you remove any plastic or sticky components that may be stuck.  

  4. Glass – Clear glass bottles and jars can be recycled after a good rinse. If possible, remove labels and separate glass from other items in your recycling bin. Check out the Container Deposit Scheme to recycle glass containers and receive a 10c refund per container recycled.  

When wrapping presents, it’s best to avoid wrapping materials with metallic foil or glitter that could contaminate recycling streams. Similarly, for most tapes that aren’t recyclable, we recommend applying minimal tape or choosing ribbons or twine as an alternative.   

Let’s wrap up the festive season with a touch of green by reusing, reducing, and recycling our Christmas waste to make a lasting impact on our environment. Ho ho ho!   

For more information on recycling, visit Recycling Near You


Positive Actions

Ashmeeta Subra

With background in international relations and marketing communications, Ashmeeta is excited to use her skills to encourage positive environmental actions through Planet Ark. She believes that by taking small actions, we can help make a big difference and be good stewards of our planet. Outside of work, she loves spending time in nature and enjoying downtime at the beach.

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