Is Wrapping Paper Recyclable? (And Is It Biodegradable?)

From birthday to Christmas to other seasonal celebrations, when you think about getting your loved ones a gift, the first thing that comes to your mind is preventing them from knowing what the gift is. So, how do you go about that? By getting it wrapped, of course. This means that wrapping paper is quite vital, especially when gifting is concerned.

This material has been with us for as long as you can imagine. It has the best attractive feature to capture the interest and heart of your loved ones and has proved to be the best material for wrapping presents over the years.

Since everyone loves opening gifts and presents, what do you do with the wrapping paper that comes with them? Do you get your surroundings messed and littered by them? What environmental effects do you think come with throwing them away into your surroundings? Do you have any idea if this material is recyclable or not? After tearing it to shreds, do you think they can be reused or have any monetary value?

In this post, we will be exposing you to the environmental effects of your wrapping paper. Why not grab a seat and join us in reading through this post?

Can You Recycle Wrapping Paper?

When you hear the word “paper,” you immediately think it is suitable for recycling, but that is not enough reason to conclude that all types of wrapping paper are recyclable. While some types of wrapping paper can be recycled, some cannot be recycled due to certain additives such as metallic and glitter finishes contained in them.

So, the question is, “Which type of wrapping paper can be recycled and which is not recyclable?”. We will be helping you by telling you what goes where and how to get these wrappings recycled without having to combine the recyclable with the non-recyclable.

Identifying recyclable wrapping paper is quite easy. It has certain qualities that differentiate it from its non-recyclable counterpart. Generally, recyclable wrapping paper is non-illuminated, not too thin, produced from recycled elements/materials, simple and plain. If you happen to come across a wrapping paper that is exceedingly thin, you should know that it has little or no quality to withstand the recycling processes.

You can easily identify a recyclable wrapping paper from a non-recyclable one by doing a simple test popularly referred to as the scrunch test. How do you do this? It is quite simple. Squeeze the wrapping paper into a ball and watch out for which one maintains the shape of the ball and the one that springs back to form a flat piece. If it maintains the shape of a ball, it can be recycled, but if it springs back to form a flat piece, it cannot be recycled.

Now that you know how to differentiate a recyclable wrapping paper from the non-recyclable one, endeavor to dispose of it into a separate recycling bin. Having a mix of it in the same recycling bin can pose a challenge to the recyclers, and this can make the recyclers toss a good number of it around because they can’t go about sorting it out all by themselves.

How do you go about getting the recyclable wrapping paper recycled? First and foremost, the recycling process begins with you. Make sure that all the gift tags, ribbons, tape, and every other decorative material have been removed and separated from the wrapping paper. After this, you can put it in the recycling bin. It is left for your city or local recyclers to pick it up for recycling.

Make sure you find out if your city or local recycling centers accept wrapping paper. This is because, even when the wrapping paper can be recycled, some centers do not accept them. This is the effect of government regulations which differ from region to region.

Can You Put Wrapping Paper in The Recycling Bin?

Whether you can put wrapping paper into the recycling bin or not remains another frequently asked question today. Many people want to know if no threat or danger comes with getting rid of this material by putting it in a recycling bin.

It is up to you as a person to ensure that this wrapping paper is well sorted out and put in the right recycling bin. You must ensure that the wrapping paper that is suitable for recycling goes into a separate recycling bin from the other type that cannot be recycled.

What happens when you get these two types of wrapping paper placed in the same recycling bin? The result is what is popularly referred to as “wishcycling.” This process of putting both recyclable and non-recyclable wrapping paper into the same recycling bin can make it difficult for local recyclers to do their job effectively and efficiently. The recycling process is usually impeded because of this.

This means that not everything can be put in those recycling bins. Items such as ribbons, tapes, glues, as well as glitter-dusted materials, and decorations that make up a significant part of wrapping paper should go into another blue bin. You will be messing with your surroundings by putting them all together.

Do you know another benefit that comes with separating the recyclable wrapping paper from the non-recyclable type? You will be able to prevent the chemicals used in producing this wrapping paper from affecting other disposable items in your recycling bin. Although, wrapping paper made with chemicals are not common again due to their negative side effects.

Is Wrapping Paper Biodegradable?

Wrapping paper is generally biodegradable. However, before we conclude on this assertion, you should know that whether it is biodegradable or not depends on the material from which it is made. Hence, it is better to say that not all types of wrapping paper are biodegradable.

The wrapping paper’s ability to easily decompose in the soil largely depends on the material from which it is produced. While some of this wrapping paper is made from toxic chemicals and metallic substances and elements, some are made from recycled materials and paper. This shows that while some are eco-friendly, some are not.

Substances made from metals and other toxic chemicals are generally known not to be biodegradable because of the elements contained in them. These elements make it difficult for them to easily break down and decompose in the soil. Hence, wrapping paper produced from these substances is highly non-biodegradable and not suitable for safety and a healthy environment.

On the contrary, wrapping paper made from paper and other recycled materials is highly decomposable in the soil. They easily break down because they are made from biodegradable materials: paper.

Other parts of this wrapping paper, such as ribbons, tape, tags, are non-biodegradable because they are usually made of plastics and nylons, which cannot easily break down and decompose in the soil.

Hence, when next you want to get your presents and gift wrapper for your loved ones, friends, and relatives, make sure you buy the biodegradable and eco-friendly type.

Is Wrapping Paper Compostable?

There is no specific answer to this. However, we can say that since some types of wrapping paper can easily break down and decompose in the soil, they should also be compostable.

Yes, wrapping paper made from paper and other recycled materials is suitable for making compost. Since not everyone has access to recycling stations that can help with recycling wrapping paper, you can choose to make an active compost bin with it.

In composting your wrapping papers, you can shred them or even bury them. Make your compost out of wrapping paper in a natural way. Since it is already in shreds, make a pile of it, get it buried and give it time to compost. Make sure the various parts of the recycled materials are arranged in layers to ease the process. Do not include parts such as tags, ribbons, and tapes because they are not compostable.

Is Wrapping Paper Bad For The Environment?

Here’s another question that we need to provide answers to in this post. Wrapping paper is known to constitute the highest amount of waste found in landfills, especially during Christmas and other festive seasons.

This wrapping paper poses a lot of threats to our surroundings. However, it is crucial to know that except for the types of wrapping paper made from chemicals and other metallic substances, other types of wrapping paper (those made from paper and recycled materials) pose no threats or risks to the health and safety of humans as well as our resources.

But then, wrapping paper can cause pollution. It can litter or mess up the whole surroundings by throwing it into the environment and making it unattractive. Environmental pollution makes our surroundings unfit for living. How do you explain to your friends and well-wishers when they visit you on Christmas and find the whole environment messed up with wrapping paper? You can prevent this pollution by putting it into the right blue bin.

Another effect that comes with wrapping paper is the emission of toxic odor into the atmosphere. This is particularly evident when you choose to burn your wrapping paper. More danger comes with burning wrapping paper made of chemicals. They can affect your respiratory tracts.

How Do You Dispose of Wrapping Paper?

Disposing of wrapping paper should not be a big deal. There are several means through which you can get them disposed of.

1. Recycle them

One of the means of disposing of your wrapping papers is by getting them recycled. You can save your environment by getting your wrapping paper recycled. Ensure that the recyclable and the non-recyclable types are well sorted out to ease the recycling process.

2. Make compost

Another means through which you can dispose of your wrapping paper is by making compost out of them. Arrange the various parts of the recycled materials of which it is made into layers and get it buried. An active compost bin is ready for use after some time.

3. Gift Them

You can also choose to gift them out to friends and relatives. They can use the wrapping paper to give presents and gifts to other people as well. However, make sure that the wrapping paper you are giving out as a gift to your friends is in good shape and attractive.


As long as humans continue to celebrate Christmas, birthdays, and other social events, the use of wrapping paper cannot be ignored. Because of this, it is important that you know what to do with them once they are not used again.

To promote the safety and health of your environment, choose to get it recycled. It can easily decompose in the soil; hence, you can make compost using it. Make sure it is properly disposed of.


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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.