Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Recycling Wrapping Paper

Does this look familiar?  Are we really throwing all this paper away?  Is there a better way?

As many of you know, I have a thing about paper and love using nice paper and doo-dads to make packages look special.  Now for the crazy part - I also recycle everything and never considered the volume of wrapping paper to be a problem because I was recycling it all - that's good, right?  Turns out not so much.

The Captain read something about wrapping paper not being recyclable. WHAT??  I did some Internet research and found that many cities don't accept wrapping paper in their recycling program because most of it isn't actually recyclable.  Cheap wrapping paper  is so thin it doesn't have fibers suitable for recycling.  The heavier kind is often laminated and glittered - and then there's the pesky tape stuck to it.  Also, the dye process most commonly used is "beater dye" in which the dye is actually in the pulp of the paper, not just printed on top and the process used to remove ink  doesn't work well on beater dyed paper.

As is all that isn't enough, consider these scary statistics :  wrapping paper and shopping bags account for 4 million pounds of trash a year .  We spend $2.6 billion per year on gift wrap.

OK, so clearly I need to change my gift wrap obsession.  There are many alternatives - paper that is actually recyclable like this great  wrapping done by Montana Daughter - white tissue, twine, recycled tags  and gum tree pods:

There are other options, of course : craft paper (plain or dolled up with bits of paper, ribbons, buttons), newspaper ( stamped, inked, or otherwise dolled up), comics, and the gift wrapped in a gift , like a box wrapped in a scarf.   I need to get more creative and less wasteful!

But for this year, since I already bought and wrapped everything, I needed to do something with the leftovers.   I saw on idea on Martha (of course!) about shredding wrapping paper to make filler for packages.  This is a win-win - uses up the paper we already bought AND means we're not buying shredded paper for packing !

So, here is some of the leftover paper , ready to be shredded.  I ironed it a bit (I recognize that is, as my daughters would say, "cray-cray"!).  As you can see, most of it is the kind I now recognize as non-recyclable!

But look at this - colorful packing filler!

Once it's all shredded, you can't tell it Christmas paper so it works for any box that needs some extra padding.  We have the cross-cut kind of shredder that makes smaller pieces.  This would be even better with just the straight cut shredder.

Here's to recycling and making better choices. (But I do have a stash to use up first....)

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