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Don’t Throw Away Your Christmas Wrapping Paper
Yulia Furman

Don’t Throw Away Your Old Christmas Wrapping Paper!

Christmas is a time full of excess, including excess waste – typically an increase of about 30% compared with the rest of the year.[1] Even though many of us will be spending a little more carefully this year, there are things we can do to also reduce waste – and have fun in the process.

The unwrapping of presents on Christmas Day usually means a pile of scrunched up and torn wrapping paper. These days, that more than likely will result in a sense of guilt at the waste. To illustrate just how much wrapping paper is used – and discarded – each year, clever people at Wrap calculated that the amount of wrapping paper thrown away after Christmas in the UK alone would stretch to the moon.[2] That’s a lot of wrapping paper.

While popping it in the recycling bin (once plastic sticky tape and ribbons have been removed, of course) is an option for some wrapping papers, not all wrapping paper can be recycled. If you’re unsure whether a wrapping paper can be recycled or not, do the ‘scrunch test’ – scrunch a piece of paper up in your hand and if it stays scrunched in a ball it’s recyclable, if it springs open, it isn’t, probably because it contains some plastic.

Rather than throw unrecyclable paper in the bin, there are lots of ways to make use of it that can keep both adults and children entertained. We have pulled together some of the internet’s best creative ideas that make use of old wrapping paper. Even if all your discarded wrapping paper is recyclable, you can give it a second life before recycling.

8 Things To Make With Old Gift Wrap

First things first, instead of scrunching up wrapping paper and throwing it in a bin bag, encourage family and friends to unwrap presents with a little more care so the paper can be folded more easily and stored for later use. Remove any tape or bows first.

Colourful, protective packaging – simply shred old wrapping paper, either by hand or, if you have one, a paper shredder, to make pretty packaging to protect delicate Christmas decorations before packing them away for another year. It also looks good used to protect jars and bottles in a homemade festive hamper. Alternatively, use it to package gifts or other items being sent in the post.

Origami – there’s no need to buy specialist origami paper when you can have a ready supply of colourful paper to reuse. Check out our origami templates, including an origami Christmas tree and Santa.

Make new gift wrap from old – some papers are easier to reuse than others, requiring nothing more than careful removal of sticky tape before rolling or folding to save for future use. But even if the wrapping paper is crumpled and torn, it can be re-used to create fun and colourful patchwork wrapping paper.

Paper Christmas decorations – when next Christmas comes around, you can be ahead of the game by using old wrapping stored from the previous year to make new paper decorations, such as these baubles.

Paper beads – homemade paper beads are a great way to use old wrapping paper, and they can be turned into necklaces and bracelets to make lovely gifts too. Simply cut old paper into strips – experiment with the shape and width of the strips to create different effects – and roll around a cocktail stick, dabbing glue onto the paper as you roll it, being careful not to glue the paper to the stick. Remove the cocktail stick and hey presto! you have a bead ready to thread onto a length of cotton or ribbon.

Decoupage – create seasonal pen pots or tin can vases by covering receptacles in old Christmas wrapping paper and pasting it into place with PVA glue. Use as decorations around the homes or as gifts – grandparents will love them.

Create a festive collage – this offers endless scope for creativity. Using a piece of card or stiff paper – A4 or A3 is a good size for this activity – cut out shapes, such as Christmas trees, stars, presents, houses … the options are limited only by your imagination … and paste them onto the card to create a festive scene.

Wrap gift boxes – paste old gift wrap onto cardboard gift boxes using PVA glue. Not only do they look great, but the boxes can be used over and over again. Fill them using the shredded paper described above

So, this Christmas, don’t throw that old wrapping paper away. By carefully storing it and re-using it, you will not only reduce waste and recycling, but you could also create next year’s gifts and decorations without needing to spend any money.

You can find more creative paper ideas for Christmas here.

The Paper Fact File

Paper is one of the most sustainable and recycled materials in the world!

Visit the Paper Fact File to discover the facts about paper’s sustainable attributes. Some might surprise you!