Wrapping paper is designed for single use only, and although some of us try to re-use it (my mum always had a big bag of used wrapping paper in the cupboard), realistically this can only be done once or twice before it is finally binned.
Recycling wrapping paper is problematic in a number of ways. Fibres found in cheaper types of paper are not strong enough to recycle. Wrapping paper is often dyed and laminated and can also contain non-paper additives such as gold and silver colouring, glitter and plastics. And to compound all this, it often has sticky tape still attached to it. Landfill or incineration are all too often the only options.
In the UK, we send 5 million tonnes of paper to landfill every year. In 1995, 11,000 tonnes of wrapping paper were sold in the UK alone. On average, it takes 6 mature trees to make a tonne of paper. This means approximately 50,000 trees are used to make the 8,250 tonnes consumed at Christmas (estimated Christmas use = 75% of total).
To put this into context, 10,000 trees were cut down to make way for the contentious Newbury bypass, and this became a major national issue. But we are wasting 5 times this amount every Christmas. Defra estimates that enough paper is used each year to gift-wrap the island of Guernsey. Defra also estimates that last year, 83 sq km of wrapping paper ended up in UK rubbish bins.
Each year, a forest the size of Wales is required to provide all the paper used in Britain.
One solution is to not wrap your gifts (my favourite) or you could switch to using a long lasting fabric gift wrap (see Wrag Wrap where I also got the above facts from).
If you'd like to know what you can do to recycle your Christmas waste then click here www.recyclenow.com
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