Every Christmas our usage of paper increases, from the bumper edition of the TV guide, to the beautifully wrapped presents nestled under the tree. This year Veolia (Nottinghamshire County Council’s waste contractors) are encouraging Nottinghamshire residents to choose papers made from recycled products, and if not flocked, glittered or covered in sticky tape, to send it on its recycling journey once it’s revealed the festive treasures inside.
One of the biggest sources of waste each Christmas is wrapping paper, with more than 8,000 tonnes being used each year in the UK - the equivalent of approximately 50,000 trees.
Wrapping presents and seeing them all waiting under the tree is as much a part of Christmas as the decorations. But instead of picking up jumbo rolls of paper to wrap your presents, why not have a go at some of these more environmentally friendly ideas:
Alternative reusable ways to conceal your presents and gifts:
Wrapping paper is very appealing, but rather than opting for shiny patterns on new paper, go for a recycled version instead. 100% recycled wrapping paper is available from lots of shops and will say it’s made from recycled paper on the label. Or why not try recycled brown parcel paper for a vintage look. It can look good on your presents when wrapped with ribbon or foliage, and you can even reuse any paper that may have come wrapped around a parcel.
It's even greener to use something that would otherwise have been disposed of to wrap your gifts. Look through magazines for colourful pictures, leftover wallpaper, old maps, plain paper bags, old sheet music or comics make fun wrapping paper for both children and adults, and you can easily dress your gift up with reusable ribbons and twine.
For more awkward shaped gifts, fabric scraps and napkins tied or sewn are great as are pillowcases which make great wrapping for large gifts, as well as being a useful alternative for a santa sack.
If baking homemade sweet treats like mince pies, biscotti or cakes, empty biscuit tins and sandwich bags decorated with permanent markers offer an alternative to wrapping.
Or why not dispense with wrapping altogether. You could hide presents and make a treasure hunt, or give a present within a present. You may also find tins or boxes in charity shops that can double as a gift and giftwrap.
How about the trimmings?
A lot of the glitz of Christmas wrapping is provided by the bows and ribbons that adorn your gifts, but rather than using foil bows and ribbons that are hard to use again, experiment with fabric ribbons, a string of beads or even string. Instead of bows you could use baubles which can then be hung on the tree, or even hair accessories.
Bows and ribbon can usually be reused a couple of times, or added to a sewing / craft box to be fashioned into something new. Gift bags, without the tag can be reused – an old Christmas card front could be turned into a new unique tag.
Lea Hawkes, Nottinghamshire General Manager said: ‘Wherever possible it’s always best to reuse as much as you can when wrapping presents. This reduces the amount of raw materials needed for new wrapping paper and accessories and helps to save money too. Once the festive season is over plain wrapping paper, cards and cardboard boxes can all be recycled in your household recycling wheeled bin.’
Why can’t all wrapping paper be recycled?
Wrapping paper can be covered with glitter, shapes, flocked, laminated or contain non-paper additives such as foil which means it cannot easily be recycled. If you find this under your tree try, reusing it, but please leave it out of your recycling bin.