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Inspiration comes from all sorts of places when you love to write. Take a quick look at the publish date on this post, and you?ll see it?s Christmas Day 2019. Everyone else is napping, but I feel like writing. The subject matter was an easy one. Like a fair proportion of my posts, this one is born out of necessity and we?re going to look at how to dispose of wrapping paper the right way ? or gift wrap, depending on where you?re reading this.

How to Dispose of Regular Wrapping Paper

I?m writing this feature with Christmas in mind, but everything applies equally to birthdays and anyone that happens to receive a lot of gifts throughout the year. More often than not, any given gift is wrapped in conventional wrapping paper and the clue is in the name.

I wrote yesterday on how to clean a water bottle and pushed the whole environmentally-friendly angle in the direction of anyone that still buys a new bottle every day. I haven?t turned into the world?s most prominent environmentalist for Christmas, but there?s undoubtedly an angle here with wrapping paper. Simply put, most gift wrap is every bit as recyclable as any other kind of paper.

Prepare Your Giftwrap for Recycling

In theory, you should wash out jars, pots, tins and anything else that goes into recycling. Above anything else, it prevents contamination of recyclable materials by ones that aren?t. Even if you don?t usually go that far, you can make the recycling centre?s life more comfortable with a couple of simple steps:

Remove the Extras that were Lovingly Stuck On

Bows and ribbons can add to the overall aesthetic of a gift, but they?re rarely recyclable. The same goes for sticky tape. If you want to recycle your wrapping paper and do it the right way, remove anything along these lines.

Stick with Paper You?re Sure About

When in doubt, try the scrunch test. If you can scrunch gift wrap as you would with a piece of writing paper or newspaper and it stays in a ball, then chances are you can recycle it in the same way. If your friends and family felt flush and went with more exotic gift wrap, you might need to try something different.

What Wrapping Paper Can?t Be Recycled?

Even with the best intentions, some things that feel like they should be recyclable can?t be. The film that covers microwave meals immediately springs to mind. Some wrapping paper falls into this category too and will have to go in the general waste:

  • Wrapping paper with non-paper inserts. Some wrapping paper is made mainly from recyclable paper but includes stars, patterns and other additions that clearly aren?t made from the same stuff. Glitter, plastic and anything else along those lines can be a problem. If you?ve got a single sheet to deal with, you could go to the trouble of cutting them out. For anything more, my inner laziness comes out and I?d suggest placing that in the general waste.
  • Foil paper. I?ve seen enough foil gift wrap to last a lifetime today and it will end up in the landfill. I have to admit that it looks good, but it doesn?t recycle. While kitchen foil usually consists of thin sheets of aluminium, foil paper is generally made of polypropylene. Even if you?ve never heard of this type of plastic, you?ll know of its most prominent use. Plastic bags in shops and supermarkets are made of the same stuff, and we all know the general consensus on them and their recycling qualities!

Look Before You Leap

If you get your recycling collected with your general waste, you should check with whoever does the collection about any specific rules they may have. Some councils, local authorities and other organisations have a blanket ban on wrapping paper.

Similarly, if you take the wrapping paper to a recycling centre or tip, you should check on what goes where. Wrapping paper can be recycled, but it?s slightly more complicated than you might have assumed!

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