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Small change, big impact: wrapping paper alternatives

With Christmas just around the corner, many of us will soon be on the hunt for the prettiest wrapping paper to present our gifts in. However, what we do not always realise is the immense collective effect that different types of wrapping papers can have on the planet. It is estimated that throughout this festive period alone, 108 million rolls of wrapping paper and 40 million rolls of sellotape will be used. 

Most wrapping papers have special dyes added to them to give vibrant festive colours, others have added sparkles, whilst some even have a special plastic lamination to make the paper thicker. As a result of factors like these, the majority of wrapping paper isn’t currently recyclable. In addition to this, residues of sellotape complicate the recycling process even more. If it comes to the end of Christmas day and you are unsure if your used paper can go in the recycling bin, there is an easy way to find out. If the paper scrunches and stays scrunched, and has no additional sparkles or sellotape, it is most likely recyclable!

Considering all this, is it really worth having a dyed, plastic filled paper, which will contribute to landfill, if it will be ripped and thrown away in a matter of minutes? 

Throughout this festive period alone, 108 million rolls of wrapping paper and 40 million rolls of sellotape will be used

The most common alternative to traditional wrapping paper is brown paper due to the fact that it is 100% recyclable, as well as it being versatile and cheap on top of this. Whilst this may sound boring to some, with a few ribbons and some creativity, we can all make very neat yet impressive looking gifts. 

If you’re feeling even more artistic, old newspapers or fabrics can also make great alternatives! There are numerous videos online that can teach you how to create beautifully wrapped gifts, including a new Japanese art called Furoshiki which is rising in popularity as it allows you to make different shapes from reusable fabrics. Switching to any of these alternatives will reduce the amount of wrapping paper ending up in landfill this Christmas and will spread awareness about eco-friendly yet aesthetically-pleasing wrapping options to all your friends and family! 

Considering the amount of waste that can pile up over the Christmas period, it may be worth thinking about where you can cut corners. With the unnecessarily large amounts of wasted food, plastic, and alcohol over this period, making a small change like replacing your wrapping paper with something a little more eco-conscious would be a great start. 

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