Is Ribbon Recyclable? (And Is It Biodegradable?)

Christmastime is a fantastic period and one of the most favorable holidays of the year! You get to wrap and unwrap gifts, and if you’ve been good, you get precisely what you asked for. One of the most exciting aspects of Christmas has to be shopping for gifts, and let’s not forget wrapping paper and ribbons.

Birthdays are also remarkable whether you enjoy celebrating yours or not. You’ll certainly end up with a gift or two at the very least. Unfortunately, all these festive periods leave us with a ton of wrapping paper and ribbons. Getting past the excitement of these periods, we’ll have to clean up and dispose of the mess it’s left behind.

Now, how do you dispose of the ribbons attached to these gifts? Sure, you can reuse them multiple times, thankfully, but you’ll eventually have to dispose of them, as they won’t last forever.

Well, in this blog post, we will see if we can recycle ribbons and what are environmentally sensitive ways of disposing of your unwanted ribbons and just how eco-friendly they are. Let’s get started!

Can You Recycle Ribbon?

If you’ve recently amassed a ton of ribbons from the past festive year, you’ll eventually need to dispose of them to create more space in your home. While they don’t exactly take up a lot of space, you’ll still have to deal with getting rid of them, as they pose no further uses in their present condition.

Well, one of your viable options will be to recycle the ribbons. But, of course, you’ll certainly wonder if these ribbons can go in the recycling bin; after all, not all items are recyclable.

Unfortunately, however, ribbons also fall under this category. You can’t recycle ribbons for several reasons, and we’ll explain them shortly.

Although some of the materials used to make ribbons are recyclable, recycling plants choose to avoid ribbons because of their shape and size. A ribbon can do a lot of damage to a recycling machine when you place it in.

Ribbons can curl around some of the parts of the recycling machines and even get tangled there sometimes. This can cause the machines to slow down or even stop working, and continual usage can damage them.

As such, recycling plant workers will have to take apart some parts of the machine to cut out the ribbons that have gotten wrapped around the shaft supporting the disk. It may get more complicated than that even, and the machine will need an expert.

So, in this case, you’ll have to upcycle them or simply dispose of them in the waste bin.

When you throw ribbons in the trash, they’ll end up in landfills. Depending on the texture of ribbons you’re disposing of, you can expect them to take a minimum of a century to get appropriately decomposed. But, of course, it may take more than that, typically between a century and two hundred years, and in some cases, even more.

Microorganisms cannot break down some ribbons because they aren’t biodegradable. However, they will eventually give in to extreme weather conditions and the time factor. But even then, when these act on the ribbon and break them down, you can still expect that tiny pieces will be left behind, and the earth will absorb these pieces.

Ribbons aren’t recyclable, and experts suggest that we minimize their use. While they can be pretty and turn any poorly wrapped gift into a marvel, they have no proper disposal method. As such, if the gift doesn’t need to be wrapped at all, you may as well avoid using wrapping paper and ribbons entirely.

Is Fabric Ribbon Recyclable?

Fabric is one of the most common textures used to make ribbons. In fact, you can make your ribbons at home once you have the right texture of fabrics. Simply cut it into the size and design you want, and you’ll be good to go.

Now, you may be wondering if you can recycle your fabric ribbons. Sadly, you can’t recycle all types. Since some fabrics cannot be recycled, you can turn them into materials for something else.

Fabric ribbons are beautiful decorative accessories, and their redeeming feature is that we can use them countless times. Unfortunately, however, we cannot put them in recycling bins.

In subsequent sections, we’ll provide creative and exciting ways to repurpose your ribbons, but aside from that, you’ll have to resort to the conventional method of disposing of waste by putting it in the garbage can.

Is Satin Ribbon Recyclable?

Now, ribbon manufacturers are striving to make ribbons from biodegradable materials. One of such sustainable materials is the acetate satin ribbon. These ribbons come in different shapes, sizes, and colors, and are just as mesmerizing, if not more, than conventional ribbons.

These ribbons are made from recycled polyester, which is a sustainable production technique most of the time. That way, no new materials are used up, and the only downside is the production process, how long it takes, and the amount of energy consumed.

Aside from that, you have ribbons that’ll serve their purpose without harming the environment. Then, after reusing them until we can’t use them anymore, you can ask your local recycling center if they accept satin ribbons.

If they don’t, you can use a recycling locator to find a suitable company that does. It could be a textile recycling company that eventually takes the ribbons off your hands. But, of course, since it’s satin, recycling it will never be an issue.

Is Ribbon Biodegradable?

Biodegradability applies to materials that microbes will find easy to break down. The time frame also matters; materials that don’t require a long period to get broken down are biodegradable.

Now, we established earlier that manufacturers could produce ribbons from an array of materials. Hence, only the ribbons that are made from organic fibers are biodegradable.

Even then, you have to ensure that you don’t allow ribbons that have been dyed, stained or stamped to biodegrade, as they can be harmful to the environment.

Since some ribbons are biodegradable, it’s safe to say that you can put them in the waste bin since you may be unable to recycle them.

They’ll break down naturally without leaving negative impacts on the environment. In addition, since they are sizable, the biodegradable ribbons will not take up too much space in our landfills.

Now, take satin ribbons. They are also made from organic materials, wood pulp, to be precise. This means that acetate satin ribbons will break down almost within the same time frame it’ll take wood to decompose. As such, if there are no easily accessible recycling options for you, you can put them in the trash with a free conscience.

Is Ribbon Eco-Friendly?

Determining if the ribbon is eco-friendly is quite easy once you can answer a few questions in the positive. For instance, does ribbon go through a sustainable production process? Is it biodegradable? Can it be recycled? Does it consume our non-renewable resources excessively? Is the production process leaving negative impacts on the environment?

Well, to answer these questions, not all ribbons are eco-friendly.

Ribbons made from cotton, linen, raffia, and other fibers derived from plants are eco-friendly. Their production process doesn’t consume energy in excess, they don’t require a ton of chemicals for this process, and they are essentially made from renewable natural resources.

As such, their production and existence don’t threaten the environment in any way. They can even be composted and biodegrade with ease, leaving only positive impacts on the environment.

On the other hand, ribbons made from synthetic materials aren’t eco-friendly. They require a lot of chemicals and a lengthy production process. More often than not, these chemicals aren’t well disposed of and can end up in rivers, the ocean, and even the air, damaging the ozone layer. They are also impossible to recycle and should not decompose on our oil, as they can leave toxic impacts on it.

How to Dispose of Used Ribbons?

If you’ve made it this far, you know that we cannot recycle ribbons more often than not.  As such, the best way to properly dispose of them will be to use them several times and then repurpose them. In this section, we’ll show you exciting ways to repurpose your used ribbons. Enjoy!

1. Bracelets and Headbands

An excellent way to dispose of your old ribbons will be to turn them into headbands and bracelets. For this craft, you’ll need a glue gun and some plain headbands and bracelets. If you have glitters, buttons, beads or anything you want to use to spruce up this craft, then you can include them too.

It’s pretty straightforward; all you need is to apply some glue on the headbands and bracelets and wrap the ribbons around them. You can make yours edgy by mixing up different colors and designs of the ribbons. Then, you can add the beads, buttons or glitter in systematic places on your new accessories.

2. Ribbon Shade

An artsy way to give your lamp an edge will be to attach your old ribbons to it. You can gather ribbons of different colors and designs and attach them to your lamp with a glue gun.

3. Ribbon Wreaths

You may also choose to turn these ribbons into wreaths. This is an incredible hack, and you can use an array of ribbons to make your more mesmerizing. You’ll need a foam base, a glue gun and your ribbons for this hack.

You can create these wreaths with your children if you have any, and this is an engaging way to keep them occupied. You’ll simply have to attach looped ribbons to the foam base; ensure that there’s no space, as fuller wreaths are usually more beautiful.

4. Chandeliers

This here is a simple hack that you don’t need a lot of tools to try out. You’ll need a circular base, and you can use virtually anything in this shape, some ropes for hanging the chandeliers, and a glue gun.

Simply attach the old ribbons in their different designs and colors to the circular base with the glue gun and ensure you leave a sufficient length hanging down. Then, attach the ropes at systematic points while ensuring balance, and hang them at different places in your home.

These are fantastic decorative ideas for your children’s bedrooms.


If you enjoy a good read, you can make your old ribbons into bookmarks. You can attach the two ends to a piece of jewelry or pendant with a glue gun to make this an entirely homemade hack. These ribbon bookmarks also make excellent gifts for friends and family that love to read.


Although there aren’t recycling options for ribbons just yet, we certainly cannot do without them. As such, we commend manufacturers that are striving to make ribbons that are compostable and biodegradable.

However, in the meantime, we can also use these ribbons several times before we find alternate ways of disposing of them, mainly through repurposing. So, now that you’re well-equipped with sufficient information about disposing of ribbons, we encourage you to make informed decisions with it.


Share on:

About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.