This two-second trick will tell you if your wrapping paper is recyclable

Christmas, unfortunately, tends to come with a lot of waste – from leftover food to excess packaging on presents and, of course, the mountain of wrapping paper that builds up in the middle of the room as everyone rips into their gifts.

torn wrapping paper
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In fact, did you know that the UK uses 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year? According to sustainable packaging company GWP, that’s approximately four rolls of wrapping paper per household, and 83 square km of the stuff ends up in landfill.

While you can go around the room scooping up ribbons and bows to reuse again next year, torn wrapping paper can’t really be reused and quite often it can’t be recycled either, due to the use of plastic coating, foil and glitter (hence why it ends up in the bin). Thankfully, strides have been made in this area, with several retailers including John Lewis, Waitrose and Morrisons committing to banning glitter on the wrapping paper they sell in their stores.

wrapping Christmas presents
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However, even with the glitter removed, some wrapping paper still isn’t actually recyclable, but it can be hard to tell just by looking at it. Sustainable creative organisation Hubbub has shared a nifty little trick that will help you figure out what wrapping paper can go in the recycling in seconds. Dubbed the ‘scrunch test’, all you have to do is scrunch up the wrapping paper and see if it stays in a ball. If it does – great! This paper can go in the recycling. If it unravels, that means it can’t be recycled.

scrunched up wrapping paper
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Obviously you can’t test this in the shop before you buy it, but this trick will help you sort through the torn up recyclable wrapping paper on Christmas Day. Alternatively, you could ditch the wrapping paper altogether and use old fabric scraps (Hubbub has a great tutorial on this here) or buy reusable fabric gift wrapping from somewhere like The Fabric Wrapping Co. We also spoke to Camille Wilkinson, the ‘eco crafting maven’ and author of Gift Wrap Green, about her eco-friendly gift wrapping tips.