One of the many joys of Christmas and birthdays is the beautifully-wrapped gifts, adorned with curly ribbons, over-sized bows, and elaborate wrapping paper.

But wait: Would you have ever thought that this delightful packaging may actually be hurting the environment? According to a study conducted by Earth911, an estimated 2.3 million pounds of wrapping paper winds up in a landfill.

And it’s not just the wrapping paper. Most of what we wrap our gifts in can’t be recycled and ends up tossed in a landfill despite our diligent effort to throw the bulging trash bag in the recycling bin instead of the trash can.

This quick read will help you to have much more eco-friendly holidays by reducing your contribution to our global landfills. Find out what you can and can’t recycle, and how to make your recyclable wrapping paper just as pretty.

What NOT To Recycle

As far as the entire display is concerned, there isn’t much about traditionally-wrapped gifts that can be recycled. From the glitter dusting on your wrapping paper to the adhesive on the back of the bows, there’s a lot that shouldn’t go into the recycling bin.

The next time you have a floor buried in paper, bows, and ribbon, make sure you don’t recycle the following items:

  • Plastic bows
  • Ribbon strands
  • Embellished wrapping paper (meaning it has glitter, velvet, or even metallic accents)
  • Embellished greeting cards (same as above)
  • Lingering pieces of tape or adhesive

Even if you do buy plain wrapping paper, there’s no guarantee that it will be recycled. Even the shiny coating on the paper can be impossible to recycle, so it’s tossed out during the sorting process.

Tips for Recyclable Wrapping Paper

We know that the beautiful, glittery, embellished wrapping paper looks so lovely under the tree, but it’s not conducive to the environment.

That’s not to say that eco-friendly wrapping can’t be just as pretty. There are so many ways you can dress up recyclable wrapping paper, all you need to do is type in a quick search on Google or Pinterest for “Creative Gift Wrap Ideas” and use good sense to determine whether or not you can tweak an idea to make it recyclable.

Here are a few tips and best practices for ensuring your gift wrap isn’t contributing to our global trash crisis.

  • Reuse bows and ribbons year after year, until they’re noticeably thrashed—then throw them in the garbage.
  • Wrap your gifts in plain packing paper in neutral colors.
  • Dress up plain packing paper with sprigs of greenery, twine, cloth ribbons, colorful die cuts, you name it. Just make sure you reuse your embellishments instead of throwing them in the recycling or trash bin.
  • Search Pinterest for some creative gift wrap ideas using plain paper.
  • Buy pretty, recyclable wrapping paper. As a general rule, avoid glitter, metallic paper, and velvet. That still leaves a lot of options.

Eco-Friendly Living

For more ways to create a more eco-friendly lifestyle (beyond choosing recyclable wrapping paper) check out our environmental blog! Learn more about how Kiwi Energy is giving back to the planet with our Ecogold Fund or find out how you can make the switch to a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle.