We’re all already, or about to be, knee-deep in paper from online shopping deliveries and unwrapped gifts. It’s a great time to do a holiday declutter and think about our recycling habits too. SA recovered over 1.1 million tonnes of paper in 2021; over a million tonnes of paper would have overwise ended up in a landfill. How can you prevent your festive paper clutter from joining environmentally damaging landfills this year? Here are some ideas:

10 tips to recycle paper this Christmas

recycle paper this christmas

Recycling box

1. We hate to say it, but it’s time to recycle those piles of magazines you’ve been stockpiling just in case all these years.

2. Cardboard boxes from gifts and delivery boxes can be easily flattened out and recycled. Don’t overlook them!

3. Not all wrapping paper is created recyclable, but you can check with a tear test. If it tears very easily, that indicates that it does not include a plastic layer. It can be recycled if so. Scrunch it up to save space and recycle!

4. This is more of a preventative measure than a tip for recycling paper you already have, but avoid wrapping with foils, cellophane, and glitter – and go for paper wrapping instead of the kind with plastic layers!

5. As long as you check the tags, re-use and re-gift paper bags and gift boxes.

6. While thinking about paper, think outside the (delivery) box: you can fold up and recycle most cardboard boxes, like cereal boxes, cartons, and almost any miscellaneous cardboard containers. Be sure to double-check the recycling code first, though.

7. To make the load lighter on the organisations and people who will manage your recycling, separate paper-based from non-paper materials before leaving them out or dropping to off to be recycled.

8. Add it to your compost! Most paper is safe to add to the compost apart from coloured and glossy paper.

9. Not all paper has to leave the house. If you’re moving soon or couriering valuables, stash some paper away (especially the non-recyclable gift wrap!) to use as packing material.

10. Help the environment by not buying non-recyclable papers in the first place. If you’re still about to wrap up those last-minute gifts, consider using plain paper wrapping or even fabric.


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