Resource Use

Reuse and recycling tips for Christmas

Reuse and recycling tips for Christmas wrapping

Zero Waste Scotland, the organisation funded by the Scottish Government to support the delivery of its Zero Waste Plan and other low carbon and resource efficiency policy priorities, has released a series of tips to help people reduce waste this Christmas.

The advice has been issued to ‘avoid overflowing bins after Christmas’, and promote the message of waste prevention and recycling.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of 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 reuse, or recycling. 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.”

The tips include:


  • sell, gift, or donate any duplicate (or unwanted) presents to friends, family or charity;
  • unwrap gifts carefully to reuse any boxes, bags, wrapping paper and tags for following years;
  • use fabric wraps rather than paper to wrap gifts. The Japanese tradition of furoshiki can help reduce waste;
  • save torn wrapping paper, tags, bows and embellishments from presents for use in craft projects; and
  • reuse the printed part of Christmas cards for shopping lists and other projects.


  • remember to recycle any unrepairable electricals that have been upgraded/replaced this Christmas at local household waste recycling centres, or check local retailers to see if they offer a recycling take-back scheme;
  • check council websites to see if the local authority will collect wrapping paper for recycling (some ‘shiny’ or glitter wrapping papers are less likely to be recyclable);
  • remember to remove tape, tags, bows and ribbons from wrapping paper when putting it out for recycling, as these can contaminate the material;
  • remember to recycle all envelopes along with any other paper waste; and
  • recycle any Christmas cards that have been repurposed or reused already (see above) via the kerbside scheme, or check to see if a local retailer accepts cards for recycling.

Cabinet Secretary for the Environment Richard Lochhead, added: “By reusing 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 reuse services or nearby recycling facilities, I’d encourage everyone to play their part this Christmas and find a new home for their packaging.”

Find out more about Zero Waste Scotland.