Is Wrapping Paper Recyclable? Here’s What You Need To Know

Efforts to recycle wrapping paper, compost, and other types of wrapping material and methods should be undertaken to avoid waste of paper and the environment in general.


Gifts are always associated with joy and anticipation, but they are also followed by numerous stickers that are used for gift wrapping. Accepting that sustainability is a crucial aspect of the world, understanding how to recycle or properly discard wrapping paper is helpful.

Is Wrapping Paper Recyclable?

Wrapping paper’s recyclability depends on the wrapping paper used and the service being used, as it is not entirely clear-cut. It is possible to recycle wrapping paper as long as it is made from recyclable materials and there are no prohibited additions to the wrapping paper. We are now going to discuss some of the things that can dictate whether or not wrapping paper can be recycled.

How to identify if wrapping paper is recyclable?

The Scrunch Test

Method: This is done by taking the wrapping paper and crumpling it to form a ball.

Result: Any paper that remains crumpled will be recyclable if possible. The logic here is that if the paper is crumpled, then it could be recycled. This is because most of these products have components that either fold or spring back to the initial position, this shows that these wrapping papers are recyclable.

Visual Inspection

Method: Scrutinize previous wrapping paper to determine if it has a sheen, glitter or metallic look.

Result: As long as the paper does not contain a shiny finish or metallic or glitter-like texture, it can be considered recyclable. However, for specific types of paper, shiny or metallic wrapping paper cannot be recycled.

Feel the Texture

Method: The outer wrapper feels rough to the touch, like sandpaper.

Result: Recyclable wrapping paper is not laminated with any plastic-like material on the surface, so it may be slightly rough or matte. If it slips from your hand or is as bumpy as a plastic toy, then this wrapping paper is not recyclable.

Check for Additives

Method: Search for other related items like glitter on surfaces like metal or sequined fabric laminating finishes.

Result: Products that contain these additives include standard wrapping paper, which cannot be recycled. Corrugated paper is more likely to be recyclable even if it is plain-looking and without frills or flash.

Water Test

Method: A small corner of the wrapping paper slightly moistened with water to observe reactions.

Result: Permeable paper will get wet and be able to be bent easily which shows the wrapping paper is recyclable. Coated paper or paper containing plastic will not absorb water or alter its texture, as it is non-recyclable.

Recyclable Wrapping Paper:

Plain Paper: Then there is the matte type of paper, which is made without any coating, glitter, or metallic finish. It is easily recyclable.

Simple Printed Paper: When free from glitter, laminated paper, or foil and having simple graphics applied with water-based ink, simple printed papers should be recyclable.

Kraft Paper: Kraft paper is therefore preferred for environmentally friendly packaging because it is thick, brown, and easily recyclable.

Non-Recyclable Wrapping Paper:

Foil or Metallic Paper: Tin foils are not recyclable because shiny metallic paper is composed of metal.

Glitter or Sequins: Twine, glitter, sequins, or any other such items in the wrapping paper cannot be recycled because such things interfere with the recycling of paper.

Plastic Coatings: Profile wrapping paper with plastic coatings or laminated finishes does not biodegrade because it cannot be recycled normally.

What is the Correct Method of Recycling Wrapping Papers?

To recycle wrapping paper correctly, follow these steps:

  1. Remove Non-Paper Additions: Diligently make a detail of removing any strings such as ribbon, bow or tape, as well as any other item that is not part of the paper. These items cannot be recycled and thus should be disposed of in their special bins or dumped in the dust bin respectively.
  2. Perform the Scrunch Test: To determine whether it fits into this category, take a piece of wrapping paper and ball it. If it is crumpled, it is a recyclable item. If it spreads out or retracts back into the package, it likely has non-recyclable additions like plastic or foil.
  3. Check Local Guidelines: Always consult the particular recycling program in your area for the regulations on recycling wrapping paper, as they may slightly differ. Depending on the area where you live, there might be certain requirements regarding the type of paper that can be used.
  4. Sort Properly: Throw the paper wrapping that expires in the recycling bin meant for paper so that it can be recycled the next time. Ensure the surface is clean and dry because it affects the results obtained in fluid mechanics experiments.

Is Wrapping Paper Compostable?

While some types of wrapping paper can be placed in the compost bin, this will depend on the kind of material used in its making. The good news for those who are concerned about their impact on the environment is that plain papers with uncoated surfaces contain mostly natural fibers that can be composted. Nonetheless, the primary material of wrapping paper is not allowed to go through the composting process with inks, coatings, or additives since such substances are poisonous and will result in the casting of compost.

More About Recycling of the Wrapping Paper:

Home Composting: At home, it is best to dispose of plain, uncoated wrapping paper by shredding it and putting it in the compost bin. However, as seen above, these products must be mixed with other compostable products like food scraps and yard waste so that they can decompose properly.

Municipal Composting Programs: Certain communities also have dedicated composting services whereby they accept paper products. If your local program still accepts wrapping paper, follow the instructions provided above under composting guidelines on how to prepare the wrapping paper for composting.

How Can You Recycle Gift Wraps( By Category)?

Paper Gift Wrap: If it can be thrown into a paper recycling bin or any other bin for plain or printed water-based ink, then it can cross its path with the bin. Check and write legibly so that there are no marks or writings on the back of the paper.

Foil or Metallic Gift Wrap: This type cannot be recycled and should be thrown away in the normal refuse bin. If possible, consider sending it to other departments in your organization or selling it to other users for other uses.

Gift Bags: Avoid spending money on gift bags; if possible, recycle the bags for use on subsequent occasions. The developed problems can be recycled if the paper bags are plain; however, handles or decorations must be removed.

Tissue Paper: Even though it can be recycled, most of these programs do not admit it because of the low fiber content, as tissue paper has little volume. If the tissue paper is plain and uncoated, it is better to undergo composting.

What are other alternatives to gift wraps?

It goes on to state that it is possible to reduce waste by using better forms of recyclable gift wraps than conventional ones. 

Reusable Fabric Wraps: Use scarves, fabric square pieces, or fabric gift bags such as the Furoshiki, a Japanese cloth material. A few of these can be washed and reused several times and give a personal touch to the gifts that you give.

Reusable Gift Bags: When selecting gift bags, ensure that they are reusable to avoid occasions when one is used once and then disposed of. These bags also come in a wide range of sizes and designs, making them an attractive and environmentally friendly alternative to wrapping paper.

Recycled Paper: Use newspapers, old maps, or other paper items you already have at home. These materials can be creatively repurposed as gift wraps.

Natural Materials: Wrap gifts with natural materials like brown Kraft paper, which is recyclable and can be decorated with biodegradable twine, dried flowers, or other natural elements.

Reusable Containers: Use baskets, boxes, or tins that the recipient can use again. These containers not only serve as gift wraps but also as additional gifts themselves.

How Can You Avoid Wasting the Wrapping Paper That You Use?

It is also important to note that when it comes to services and products, throwing away wrapping paper is a big issue that should be something other than entertainment. 

Reuse Wrapping Paper: Tightly and neatly pack the gifts and, if possible, keep the wrapping paper for other uses. This practice can reduce the purchase of fresh wrapping paper to a minimum or negligible level.

Minimal Wrapping: Minimize the amount of wrapping paper to none by donating gifts on their covers. If your giftee cannot or will not use complicated wrapping, then ribbon or other simpler forms of adornment can be made to look festive.

Creative Alternatives: Instead of using a conventional material for gift wrapping, one should use fabric pieces, a shopping bag, or jars. It shows that such options can be addressed and are not as forgettable as standard wrapping paper.

Educate and Encourage: Learn what friends and family still do not know about environmentally safe packaging. Post friendly and helpful advice on which eco-friendly ideas might be useful for others who aim to compost their gift wrapping.


The findings show several aspects of how proper wrapping paper handling practices can help reduce wastage and protect the environment. By selecting appropriate wrapping papers made of recyclable or even compostable materials, recycling these papers correctly, and contemplating other forms of wrapping gifts, we can enjoy the joy of the festive season without straining the earth’s resources. Be the eco-champion you are and incorporate greener methods while still making the act of giving gifts pleasurable.