Christmas Wrap

Dreamstime/Anthony Aneese Totah Jr

Can I Recycle This Wrapping Paper?

It's Not All Recyclable

KCBS Radio Morning News
December 26, 2018 - 7:53 am

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS Radio) -- The gifts have been opened and now it's time to get all those scraps of paper, bows and ribbons cleaned up.

Can it all go in the recycling bin? Maybe not.

A surprising amount of holiday gift wrap and many greeting cards fail the recyclability test.

Some of it is fairly obvious: any paper that's metallic or glittery is not recyclable. Some experts suggest a "scrunch test": if you can wad up a ball of wrapping paper up and it stays wadded, you're probably dealing with recyclable paper (metallic papers are more likely to spring back to a flat shape).

But not all waddable paper is recyclable.  And not all shiny paper has to go in the trash.

San Francisco's Department of the Environment (SFEnvironment) offers pointers on the process, saying "shiny wrapping paper can be recycled in the blue bin, but avoid purchasing shiny wrapping paper as it leaves metallic flecks in the paper recycling process."

The SFEnvironment site also warns against recycling tissue paper, saying it should be composted because it's usually made of recycled paper and thus has fibers too short for further recycling.

When it comes to bows and ribbon, the answer is much more clear: not recyclable. They'll need to be reused, or put in the trash.