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Why You Should use Recycled Wrapping Paper

Updated on October 24, 2012

Admit it, I know you have thought about it while watching your children tear through Christmas presents. " why did I even bother to wrap them?" We all love pretty presents under the tree or around a birthday cake, but at what price? It is estimated that Americans use over 50, 000 square yards of wrapping paper! This covers at least 45,000 football fields! Obviously this is a lot of paper that goes to waste! Where does this all go? Most wrapping papers get trashed, while some get recycled. Christmas wrapping papers especially have glitters in them that make it impossible to be recycled. What can you do to help cut down on the amount of waste this Holiday season? Take a look at some wrapping paper alternatives!

Bag it!

If you want to get eco friendly there are several ways to go about it. Instead of buying that fancy wrapping paper this year, find an alternative to gift wrap. My favorite way is to use a lot of gift bags! Gift bags are pretty and usually durable. They can at least stand up to two Christmas's if not more.I always consider the Christmas bag as part of the gift. That way the receiver has a bag to give next year! Inevitably the bag will be destroyed, but at least it can be used more than one time.

Get creative!

You can find some things around the home if you look hard enough! The Sunday Funnies are an ideal wrapping paper.Maps or your children's art work are another attractive paper. How about a brown paper bag? You can wrap it plain or decorate the bag with stencils and ribbon. Release your inner Martha Stewart and take some plain white paper. Decorate with stampers, stencils or markers. If you are a crafty person you can use some of your supplies like scrap booking papers. Below are some videos to help get you started!

The Environmental Protection Agency estimated that 57% of all paper was recycled even though 87% of us have access to recycle bins in 2008. Americans are estimated to use 85 tons of paper products per year.

Another way is for you to save and reuse the wrapping paper. But this is not always practical and takes away from the excitement of opening a gift. This would be a good time to talk about the benefits of using recycled wrapping paper.

The Benefits of making your own wrapping paper? It saves on trees as well as the energy to make paper. And anytime we save energy we are saving polluting the environment.

How is paper recycled?

Paper is recycled by breaking it down into small fibers and using a press. Paper can be recycled up to about seven times until it is not longer useful. At this time the pulp is too small to be any good and floats away. Non Metallic wrapping paper is much easier to recycle.

Where do you recycle wrapping paper?

Check to see if your recycling center has Holiday recycling. Often there is a recycling program for Christmas Trees and wrapping paper!

The Christmas Wrap Challenge

I challenge everyone who reads this article to at wrap at least one gift in recycled materials this Holiday season! Imagine the amount of paper we could save if everyone chipped in. And you just might have fun in the process. Who knows? Making your own wrapping paper could become a family tradition! Imagine each year you and your family have a "wrap party" to see who can make the most creative wrapping paper!

If you don't have the time to be creative then here are some recycled Christmas paper options.

Do you have any ideas on how to recycle wrapping paper?

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    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 6 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      I use recycled wrapping paper and bags to wrap books up with (I sell for put the white inner side out and generously tape it, and label it appropriately. Gift paper is great for this--good idea!!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      You are right about all that waste - we usually have a paper bag for wrapping paper that we can set out for recycle pick up. But I and several members of our family wrap boxes so that the box can be opened without tearing the paper - just wrap the top of the box separately. I don't use gift tags because they fall off, so I write the name of who I am giving the gift to on the bottom of the box. The gift recipient saves the box, and the next year, crosses off the first name, and adds a new one. A good box makes the rounds for years!