Inspiration, Tips and Advice

How to recycle wrapping paper the creative way!

Let’s talk about how to recycle wrapping paper…

Christmas is great. We love Christmas. The festive treats, the feeling of goodwill in the air, the anticipation of gift giving and nothing beats spending some quality time with the family.

But, after Christmas Day has been and gone, it’s likely that you’ll be faced with a home full to bursting with used wrapping paper and other cardboard… If you’re like us, and you love the environment, ditching it in a bin just isn’t a conceivable option…

But what on earth to do with it? How can you recycle wrapping paper effectively?


Big ben wrapped in wrapping paper - recycle wrapping paper

Image credit: Recycle now


Some food for thought…

  • A staggering 300,000 tonnes of card is used in UK households during the festive season
  • Card packaging used at Christmas could cover Big Ben almost 260,000 times



First of all, you can recycle wrapping paper. But it’s not as easy as popping it in the recycle bin. Not all wrapping paper is indeed recyclable. And that’s because gift wrap often contains much more than simply paper. Some is plastic-based and there’s the issue of gift wrap that’s covered in “metres of Sellotape”, not to mention gift tags or paper that contains foil or glitter, none of which can be recycled.

But you can recycle a good deal of what you’ve wrapped your presents in, just as long as it’s pure paper.


How do you check? Try to scrunch up the paper into a ball. If it scrunches, and stays scrunched, it can probably be recycled.

And if you’ve bought recycled wrapping paper in the first place, it can probably be recycled again.

So you’ve got recyclable wrapping paper – what do you do with it?

Even if your paper is recyclable – not all councils will take it.

Some will let you put it into the recycling collection. Others insist you bring it along to a recycling centre.

You’ll need to check with your local authority. To find out which one takes your rubbish, click here for England and Northern Ireland, here for Wales and here for Scotland.


But how about spending your Boxing Day and beyond putting your wrapping paper to good use? Here are some top ideas for how to recycle your wrapping paper into some truly creative concoctions!


Recycle wrapping paper

Christmas Notebook by Sally Swannell


Scrapbooks are a great gift for friends, family and loved ones – and one of the great things about a scrapbook is that anything goes! To recycle wrapping paper for scrapbooks, just save your clean wrapping paper and pop it in a box, the offcuts will make great editions. If you’re thinking about getting started with scrapbooking, why not check out our guide, here.


Use it in the back of frames

If you’ve got an oversized photo frame, why not cover the back with wrapping paper then pop your photo in the middle? This works best with generic wrapping that isn’t too Christmassy – but if you’ve taken some festive snaps, this could be a great addition!


Paper flower bouquet - recycle wrapping paper

Image credit: Pinterest


Create a wrapping paper bouquet

An easy way to recycle wrapping paper is to create things with it – and creating flowers from paper is surprisingly easy. The above map bouquet has been created by Pillar Box Blue, but you don’t have to use maps…

Why not save your wrapping paper and create a huge festive bouquet? You could use it for next year’s centrepiece!


Make DIY decorations

It might seem strange to be making decorations for next year already, but with the abundance of card and paper you have lying around (plus a load of time off that you’re not sure what to do with), now’s the perfect time to get ahead. Grab the kids, friends and family and host a creative session. You could even use your old cardboard packaging from your festive feasts too.


If you use any of our ideas, or have your own ideas about how to recycle wrapping paper, why not tag us in your printed creations over on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and use the hashtag: 




About the author

Monika is the digital design pro at With a love of everything from creative brainstorming to tweaking screen-perfect pixels, she’s a self-confessed perfectionist when it comes to keeping our branding in-line.

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