Illinois EPA Has Tips For Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

Dec 21, 2018

You might be dreaming of a white Christmas, but what about a green Christmas?

Credit Pixabay

If you're trying to be more environmentally friendly this holiday season, choose your wrapping paper carefully. Most wrapping paper is recyclable, with a couple of exceptions.

According to the Illinois EPA's online recycling tool, shiny and glittery wrapping paper is not recyclable.

The state EPA's James Jennings says it's important to recycle properly, because putting non-recyclable items in your curbside bin can cause problems down the line.

"Certainly we want to maximize the materials that can be recycled," Jennings said, "but putting something that's not recyclable in your recycling bin is very problematic from both an environmental perspective but then also from the perspective of trying to get as good of a recyclable product as possible."

Shredded paper is often not recyclable. Jennings says this is because it may impact the quality of recycled products.

"It does create sort of end product issues," he said. "So if you're like me and you have small kids who don't sort of judiciously unwrap gifts and they just shred the paper, that's something that you'd want to check with your individual hauler because some haulers may take shredded paper and some may not."

Even if you're not the most meticulous gift opener, you can choose recyclable gift wrap materials.

Wrapping and tissue paper that isn't shiny or glittery is recyclable, as well as paper bags and cardboard boxes. Bows and most ribbon are not recyclable, but some -- like raffia ribbons -- can be biodegradable.

Environmentally conscious gift givers also can save boxes, bags, and ribbons to reuse, or get creative with household items like newspaper to wrap gifts.