Four ways to reuse wrapping paper that can’t be recycled

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Another Christmas has been and gone, leaving many households left with the task of cleaning up the mess left behind from days of festive celebrations. Wrapping paper is one of the biggest contributors to rubbish and recycling bins over the winter holiday period, though it can seem a waste after spending hours neatly wrapping up gifts for loved ones. Fortunately, there are plenty of clever ways to repurpose used wrapping materials, either by saving what you can for next year or repurposing them around your property.

Unlike ordinary paper, many wrapping materials cannot be recycled, meaning that a large proportion of the staggering 108 million rolls used by Britons each year end up in a landfill.

And for many people, taking the time to work out what can and can’t be recycled is a big barrier to actually doing it, creating even more waste at Christmas time.

According to experts at Shredall Group, there is a “simple” way to tell what can and can’t be placed in your recycling bin, known as the “scrunch test”.

It is as easy as scrunching up the scraps of paper to see if it holds the shape. If it does, you can recycle the material, and if it unfolds, you should put it in a general waste bin – or find another way to reuse it.

How to re-use wrapping paper

Paper decorations

Being left with an abundance of Christmas-themed wrapping paper can seem useless, but it also provides the perfect opportunity to get a head start on your festive decor for next year.

Not only is it a no-waste alternative to throwing perfectly good sheets of wrapping material out, but also costs absolutely nothing to do. Paper chains and tree ornaments are just some of the crafts to consider, making – both of which are incredibly easy to make.

For paper chains, you will need to be able to cut the leftovers into neat strips – though you can mix and match the patterns. Stick the two ends of each strip together into a small cuff shape using glue or a stapler, and join each one together to form a long chain.

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To make your own paper-stuffed baubles, you will need to buy some hollow, translucent baubles that can be opened and stuffed.

Shred up the wrapping paper scraps and use them to fill the centre of the ornament. You can purchase two large baubles for as little as 60p in Wilko, or a pack of 12 glass ones for £11.95 on Amazon.

Leftover string or ribbon can also be used as the filling, though paper with a white underside should be avoided.

Stick to double-sided patterns and add a dash of glitter into the mix for a professional, clean finish.

Protect fragile ornaments

If you’re left with an abundance of scraps that can’t be used for new crafts, consider keeping them to protect existing items in your home.

Shred whatever you have up and use it as a cushioning material in your Christmas storage boxes.

Simply fill boxes or containers and position fragile baubles, glass ornaments or other delicate decorations you plan on putting away ahead of the new year.

You can also use gift wrap to line boxes for hampers and other boxed-up presents you may give throughout the year.

Make gift tags

Tags are another expense to consider when wrapping up gifts for Christmas, but they are incredibly easy to make yourself using leftover wrapping materials.

Save all scraps – whether big or small – and use them as a backing for plain paper or other scraps of cards to create a customised design. As long as the offcuts are big enough to write a message on, they are fine to use.

Punch one or two holes in the tags and feed some string through them so they can be easily attached to gifts.

Save sheets for next year

Large sheets of gift wrap without rips or tears in are perfect for use the following year. Neatly fold them up and store them flat in a box to preserve their shape. Even small squares can be used for stocking fillers, so you won’t have to splash out on new wrapping paper in 2023.

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