Live Green and Earn Points


Because You Asked

Is Wrapping Paper Recyclable?

By Recyclebank |

Gift wrap isn’t always recyclable, so here’s how to cut down on waste while still creating lovely gifts.

Dear Recyclebank: Is wrapping paper recyclable? –Gwen O.

Dear Gwen: This is a question that most folk ponder this time of year! Oftentimes, wrapping paper is recyclable as long as it doesn’t have any glitter on it, and isn’t metallic (both of which ultimately contaminate the other paper recyclables).

But as with many recyclables, it depends on where you live. For example, Philadelphia, Santa Monica, and Chicago accept wrapping paper and tissue paper in the curbside bin, but not if it’s metallic or glitter-covered. On the other hand, in Houston, TX, all wrapping paper has to go in the trash.

And while some recyclers do accept tissue paper for recycling, it is usually made from already-recycled paper, and the fibers are so short that they usually can’t be recycled into paper again. Some municipalities, such as San Francisco, recommend composting it instead.

The bottom line: Check your city’s recycling rules to see how you can dispose of all the different types of gift wrap this season.

And when you’re gearing up to give gifts, think of more earth-friendly alternatives to traditional wrapping paper. In lieu of wasteful single-use paper, here are some other ways you can present a gift:

  • Use scraps of colorful fabric, which can be used again and again.
  • Invest in reusable gift wrap.
  • Look for recycled paper gift wrap, so you know it has done some good for the environment.
  • Make reusable, pre-wrapped gift boxes.
  • Get creative by repurposing paper or other items you already have in the house as a wrapper. Old maps, newspaper, pages from a phone book, blueprints, pillowcases, or wallpaper samples could all be used to wrap a gift.

When you receive a gift in traditional wrapping, open it carefully so that you can keep the paper intact and unwrinkled to use again. Unsalvageable wrapping paper can be used for other purposes too: Wad it up to use as packing material to ship a package or pack up your holiday decorations, or get crafty with it by making a gift-wrap wreath or another craft project.


How do you cut down on wrapping paper waste during the holidays? Share your tips in the comments below.

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  • Bunny P. 9 months ago
    I have boxes that I have found at thrift stores or estate sales that I use(and reuse) each year. They are pretty and if I need to cover up some writing or logo, I use cut up Christmas cards. This also decorates the box! The plain white shirt boxes I have had for years are also decorated with the beautiful Christmas cards. I like to reuse paper bags this way too ~ I find a card that will look good for each bag and tape or glue to to the front.
    • Viola V. 6 months ago
      We reuse our boxes also.Gift bags also, some wrapping paper. Thank you for the idea with the cards.
  • Barbara W. 9 months ago
    REMEMBER THIS: the current list of magazines have to be ordered by 12-31-20.
    A new list will come out for 2021, some will be the same and others will be new offers!
    ALWAYS CHECK at the bottom of the offer for current expiration date / order by date.
    I ordered 17 this year for friends/gifts
  • Javier M. 9 months ago
    I have redeemed points for magazines the last few days. Will I ever get them? (I know it takes weeks). I think I saw someone comment awhile back that they never got their subscription.
    • Barbara W. 9 months ago
      send some mags as gifts...order now and it should arrive for Valentines' day!
    • Barbara W. 9 months ago
      You are only eligible to send any "particular magazine" once a year. Check back in My Rewards ( under the person icon, on the upper right) and it will show you what you ordered and When! The key is to order "different ones" for yourself and friends.
      I have ordered most of them throughout the year, so I have to check back to be sure What /When
  • Barbara W. 9 months ago
    Drop in more than once a day , for just a moment to see if someone answered you or for additional comments. ( since we no longer get notifications)
  • Barbara W. 9 months ago
    today is 12-28-20, will this site be here on the FIRST of JAN ....I hope so!
    Keep on posting!
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