How You Can Reuse and Recycle Wrapping Paper and Cards

Easy ways to reduce your holiday waste

Over the holidays the biggest source of extra waste is the use of wrapping paper and cards that package Christmas gifts. On average, over 8000 tons of wrapping paper and almost two billion cards are thrown out throughout the season. By simply reusing or recycling your wrapping paper and cards you will be able to help reduce the over 300,000 tons of holiday garbage created each year.

Wrapping Paper

It is incredibly easy to reuse your Christmas gift wrap: simply unwrap your gifts carefully so that you can wrap another present in the same paper. Some papers are more durable than others but you can usually use a single piece for two or three presents.

There are a number of other ways you can reuse your Christmas gift wrap besides using it for other gifts:

  1. Cut the paper into strips and let your kids make slinky springtime creatures from it. They can fold two strips together by putting one edge over the other until they make an accordion shape. Paste a small round piece of paper on the front of the folded paper for a face.

  2. Make a Christmas platter. Cut shapes out of the Christmas gift wrap and glue them to a platter covered in rice paper. Apply two coats of clear finish to make the platter washable.

  3. Use the paper as holiday stationary or fold the paper into an envelope for your Christmas cards and notes.

  4. Cut shapes out of the paper and hang them as Christmas decorations. You can even fold the paper and cut it out to make a chain of snowflakes or gingerbread men or cut it into strips and link them together for garland.

  5. Fold gift bows for your gifts out of old wrapping paper.

If you are unable to reuse your Christmas gift wrap in any way, make sure you recycle it. You can also purchase recycled paper. This will keep the paper away from the landfills.

Christmas Cards

Like wrapping paper, there are a number of uses for old Christmas cards. The easiest way to reuse a card is to cut the card in half and use the front picture as a Christmas postcard. Here are some other ways you can use your old cards:

  1. Cut cards with pretty pictures or quotations and use them as bookmarks. Punch a hole in the top and string a ribbon through for added detail.

  2. Make cards into a neat collector's box. Cut the card in half and cut a half inch slit in each corner of bottom piece of the card. Fold each end of the card at the end of the slit and attach the corners together. Glue in a piece of tissue paper or Bristol board in the bottom to cover up the signature on the card. Repeat the process with the front of the card to make the lid for the box.

  3. Cut the pictures off of your cards. Punch a hole at the top of the picture and thread a ribbon through it. Use the pictures as Christmas tree decorations.

  4. Use the pictures cut off of your cards to make holiday stationary.

  5. If a card has a pretty design that reaches all the way to the edge, cut a four by six inch hole in the middle of the card and turn it into a photo frame. Put the picture inside the card and fasten the edges together.

Christmas cards are also recyclable so if you aren't able to reuse it make sure to recycle it!

You don't have to throw a lot of extra stuff out over the holidays. Take the time to find other uses for your Christmas gift wrap and cards and you'll help keep the planet clean for another holiday season. You'll also find yourself saving money!

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