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Can you recycle wrapping paper?

By Reality Check team
BBC News

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Christmas morning, and presents have just been opened. Your home is now littered with mounds of colourful wrapping paper. But what on earth to do with it?

It brands itself as paper - so can it be recycled?

The short answer? Not always.

And that's because gift wrap often contains much more than simply paper.

"It's a nightmare for paper mills this time of year," confesses Simon Ellin, the chief executive of the Recycling Association - a trade body that represents around 90 different paper merchants, waste management companies and other businesses involved in recycling paper.

That's because while they're presented with mountains of wrapping paper, they cannot work with all of it.

image copyrightAFP
image captionIt can be tricky to know what to do with leftover paper.

"Not all wrapping paper is paper," Simon points out. Some is plastic-based.

Then there's the issue of gift wrap that's covered in "metres of Sellotape", not to mention gift tags or paper that contains foil or glitter, none of which can be recycled.

But you can recycle a good deal of what you've wrapped your presents in, just as long as it's pure paper.

How do you check? Try to scrunch up the paper into a ball. If it scrunches, and stays scrunched, it can probably be recycled.

And if you've bought recycled wrapping paper in the first place, it can probably be recycled again.

Simon Ellin wishes more gift wrap was manufactured with a thought for the recyclers. "It's a crusade we've been on all year - do you really need to design a non-paper wrapping paper? Make paper with recycling in mind!"

image copyrightAFP
image captionIf your paper is itself recycled, or if you can scrunch it, then you should be able to recycle it

So you've got recyclable wrapping paper - what do you do with it?

Even if your paper is recyclable - not all councils will take it.

Some will let you put it into the recycling collection. Others insist you bring it along to a recycling centre.

You'll need to check with your local authority. To find out which one takes your rubbish, click here for England and Northern Ireland, here for Wales and here for Scotland.

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