It's estimated that Brits will use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper this year, with over 83km2 ending up in our bins. That’s a lot of waste.
And even the most well-intentioned of us may be unaware that the wrap we put in recycling isn’t actually recyclable if it contains plastic, dye, foil, glitter or leftover sticky tape. It’s been said that you can check whether paper is plastic coated or not by scrunching it. If it stays scrunched, it’s probably fine to recycle, but if it pops back, it’s covered in plastic.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to make presents look pretty and cut down on waste.
Brown paper is one of your cheapest options, and yet has the most potential to look impressive – you just have to get crafty with bows, tags and other adornments. You can get recycled brown paper at your local Post Office.
Give newspaper a second lease of life by wrapping up all your thoughtfully-chosen presents. Some simple string tied in a bow or a sprig of holly will add to the look. Weekend supplements make for the most colourful wrapping!
You could adopt the Japanese method of wrapping pressies in brightly coloured fabrics known as furoshiki.
Any cloth, even an old Christmas tablecloths or tea towels, can create a beautiful parcel. Just secure it by tying a knot as a bow, or by using eco twine or cut-up fabric as ribbon.
WragWrap manufactures sustainable textiles, made from 45% recycled plastic, and the company promises that they’re durable enough to last a lifetime so can be used again and again.
Their range includes gift bags, with a drawstring top designed to hide the gift inside, sheet wraps used much like paper but with a cord and string attached to secure the gift and their patented stretch wrap, which is perfect for odd-shaped-gifts!
If you simply want a more eco version of your usual wrapping paper, then all is not lost. All you have to do is make sure your gift wrap is recycled, and that it’s recyclable.
Oxfam’s fair trade gift wrap is handmade in Nepal from recycled cotton, paper, and straw, and costs £3.49 for two sheets and two matching tags.
Happy Wrap sell a range of recycled gift paper and re-giftable fabric wraps.
Their recycled wrap is made in Britain and is 100% recycled, and recyclable after use! It’s also printed with vegetable based inks on strong paper, which won’t tear easily when wrapping your gifts.
And if all else fails – at least make sure the wrap you use is fully recyclable, if it’s not made from recycled content itself.
Wilko does a 10-metre roll of kids' Christmas Santa paper for £2, and it can be recycled.
There’s also a wealth of eco-wrapping options on Etsy.