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What You Can And Can't Recycle This Christmas

Reusing and recycling materials this Christmas is a great way to try and reduce your waste that's heading to landfill. In this article, find out how to best dispose of your festive waste; including which types of wrapping paper can and can't be recycled.

The first step is always to try and wrap your own gifts with eco-friendly wrapping (see some easy ideas here) and think about other ways you can reduce future waste (e.g. make natural, DIY decorations, choose alternatives to single-use plastic plates/cups/cutlery, compost food scraps etc.). With the waste left behind, here is some information regarding what you can do with it.

Santa holding a gift



Which Types of Wrapping Paper Can Be Recycled?

Wrapping paper and gift cards that are made from paper can go in your yellow-top curbside bin IF they are not covered in other materials like plastic. Watch out for glitter, tinsel, sequins, ribbon, cellophane and foil - none of these materials can go in the curbside recycling bin!

Wrapping paper can be recycled if it is folded flat and passes the rip test - see video above.

If you're clear of all the non-recyclables mentioned above and are dealing with simple paper wrapping, remove all plastic sticky tape and put this paper and cardboard in the recycling bin to save it from producing methane (a harmful greenhouse gas) in landfill. 

When it comes to cellophane, there are two types: plastic and paper. If you can easily tear it then it's paper and can be composted or recycled. If you can't easily tear it, it's a soft plastic and cannot currently be recycled.

As you can imagine, plain paper wrapping paper is becoming less and less common these days. Your best option is to look for alternatives to commercial wrapping paper all together. All the wrapping paper, gift bagsribbon and gift cards that we sell are made from compostable materials and vegetable inks that can be safely composted at home.

A great thing to do regardless of whether wrapping paper is recyclable or not is to save it for reuse! Simply encourage your family to open presents carefully so that the wrapping paper can be neatly folded and stored for next year... trust us, it comes in handy and feels great knowing you're saving money and giving it a second life!

Gift wrapped with entirely recycled materials
A gift wrapped with entirely re-used materials


What Can I Do With Food Waste This Holiday Season?

Cooking for the whole family is not only a big effort but can also produce a lot of food waste. Making sure those scraps and old leftovers get composted properly is one of the best positive climate change actions you can take at home, and you have a few options.

If you're interested in composting at home, check out our free, online composting resources. Our top recommendation for first-time composters is the Bokashi system - an easy, small, kitchen-top compost system.

If you're not up to composting yourself right now, jump onto ShareWaste - a platform that can connect you to someone in your neighbourhood who is willing to take your scraps and compost them for you! Cool right?!

ShareWaste community food scraps sharing


Turn Your Drinks Into Money!

If you're in a state that is participating in the Container Deposit Scheme (which WA now is - yay!), make sure you save those cans and bottles from Christmas parties and cash them in for the 10c refunds. Remember though that only cans/bottles that have the '10c refund' label on it are eligible. All other glass, metal and plastic bottles can go in your usual yellow-top curbside recycling bin.

Container compliance


What About Textiles and Clothing?

If you get new clothes or other textiles this Christmas and are wondering what to do with your old items, read this article for ideas on how to thoughtfully recycle or upcycle old textiles that aren't in good enough condition to pass on.


Replacing Old Electronics?

E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in Australia and it's critically important that we keep electronics out of landfill. PlanetArk is a wonderful resource for finding ways to recycle these items. Here are the links for recycling computers and electrical appliances - some of the services they suggest even come to you for pickup!


Any Other Materials You're Unsure About

Use PlanetArk's Recycling Near You website to find your local recyclers for just about any material that can be recycled in Australia.


Further Reading

1 Response

Wendy Terlecki

Wendy Terlecki

December 23, 2020

Thank you for reinforcing how we all can recycle, reuse or compost matter. Like the 1960s and 1970s, recycle your wrapping paper and save your money and the planet.


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