How to beat the wrap on Boxing Day

Traditionally Boxing Day means piles of unwanted wrapping paper, bags and boxes in our homes, but this year Zero Waste Scotland is urging Scots to re-use and recycle where they can, to avoid overflowing bins after Christmas.

22 Dec 14

Zero Waste Scotland’s research reveals that one-third of Scots are great recyclers but two-thirds are still unsure about how to recycle, and many may be either missing the chance to recycle things or are recycling incorrectly.

With all the extra wrapping and packaging around at Christmas, there’s a great opportunity to re-use what we can, and recycle what’s left. Here are some handy tips to avoid a paper pile-up in your bin this Boxing Day.


  • Gift bags, boxes and wrapping paper are easy to re-use – unwrap carefully, remove tape and tags, and keep them give to different friends or family next year. No one will ever know!
  • Consider the Japanese tradition of furoshiki – wrapping gifts in re-usable fabric  
  • If you do use wrapping paper and want to re-use it then buy good quality paper which is less likely to tear 
  • Why not save torn wrapping paper, tags, bows etc for rainy-day arts projects with the wee ones.
  • If you and your friends and families haven’t made a switch to e-cards, you can re-use your Christmas cards as shopping lists – tear the cards in half, and then recycle them once you’ve exhausted the January sales.  


  • Check with your council if they will collect wrapping paper with your household recycling collection
  • Alternatively, visit to find your nearest recycling centre
  • When recycling paper, remember to remove all tape, tags, bows and ribbons.
  • Good quality, plain wrapping paper is more likely to be accepted for recycling.  Paper that is laminated or contains glitter or metallic effects is less likely to be accepted.
  • Cards – we all love them, but come Boxing Day we’ll probably have loads of envelopes and cards on our hands. Why not re-use them as shopping lists by tearing cards in half, then later recycling them. Don’t forget to recycle envelopes.
  • Many retailers also offer Christmas card recycling services in their stores.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said:


“Christmas can sometimes feel like the season of excess, and we’ve all woken up with a turkey hangover and a big pile of wrapping paper and boxes on Boxing Day.  Instead of sending all of that packaging to landfill, get a kick start on your planning for 2015 and see what you can put aside for re-use, or recycle We’ve come up with some simple tips to beat the wrap over the Christmas holidays and help people to reuse and recycle to reuse where they possibly can.  


Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment said:


“By re-using or recycling our gift wrappings as much as we can, it shows that in Scotland we’re continuing to move away from the wasteful ‘throwaway society’ model of using things just once.


“The Scottish Government is determined to help Scots to recycle as much as possible. So whether it’s making the most of your home collection, local re-use services or nearby recycling facilities, I’d encourage everyone to play their part this Christmas and find a new home for their packaging.”

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