Recycling Q&A: What Are The Rules For Wrapping Paper?

Recycling Q&A: What Are The Rules For Wrapping Paper?

  • Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series of recycling Q&A tips from Kane County Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland. Got a question or idea for a recycling tip? Contact Jarland at 630-208-3841 or

Q: What Are The Recycling Rules For Wrapping Paper?

Hi, there!

We’re just wondering if we can recycle gift-wrapping paper, and what the guidelines are? What about Christmas cards — are they recyclable?

Thanks so much!

A: Flattened Wrapping Paper Is Recyclable, Tissue Paper Isn’t

This graphic shows products you can safely recycle in your bin and products you should reuse or trash.

Thanks for asking!

Not all gift-wrapping paper or cards are recyclable. Please only place clean, plain paper-based items in the recycling cart. No metallic, plastic, or glitter/sequin adorned or foil lined items.

And, by the way, ribbons and bows are not recyclable.

Here are the guidelines:

Wrapping paper can be recycled if it doesn’t have glitter, sequins or “bling.” Ribbons and bows are NOT recyclable.

YES: Wrapping paper IS recyclable if it is flattened, and is just plain old printed wrapping paper. Also highly reusable for next year!

YES: Greeting cards are recyclable as long as they do not have glitter, sequins, plastic or other adornments stuck to them. They have to be plain paper to be recyclable.

It is great to save them and reuse them, craft them into sustainable Christmas cards for next year.

Otherwise: trash.

YES: Please flatten all wrapping paper, along with any cardboard boxes before putting in the cart, to help the sorting process.

Tissue paper is NOT recyclable in your bin.

NO: Do not wad up the paper before recycling. Balled up paper makes it difficult to sort and may mean it does not get recycled.

NO: Wrapping paper with glitter or sequins or other sorts of adhesive “bling” are not recyclable. These sorts of paper, if not saved and reused, are trash.

NO: Tissue paper is not recyclable. Please flatten, save, and reuse if possible. Otherwise: trash.

NO: Ribbons and bows.

Best practice is always REUSE!

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