A bad rap for wrapping paper

Autumn Keefer, News Editor

Around this time of year, the first thing on many people’s minds is holiday shopping.  Where to shop, what to buy, and how much it will cost. One of the last things on the minds of many is the kind of wrapping paper that will be used and how it will be disposed.

$2.6 billion a year is spent on wrapping paper each year and as much as 85 million tons of paper products are thrown away every year in the United States. Of that 85 million tons, 4 million is made up of shopping bags and wrapping paper.

If every American family wrapped just three presents in recycled paper, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. It wouldn’t be so bad if all wrapping paper was recyclable. But wrapping paper that is laminated, dyed, contains non-paper additives, like gold or glitter, or has tape on it from wrapping, is considered not recyclable.

Instead of determining what is recyclable and then throwing the rest away, there are a few more uses for non-recyclable paper. It can be used for scrapbook material, covering the inside of a box for a school project, book covers for textbooks, or cards for a family member or friend.

Better yet come up with creative ways to wrap a present. Newspaper and magazines could also be used as alternatives to wrapping paper. By taping pages together, it can be used to wrap a present of virtually any size.  Sheet music, calendars, maps, shopping bags, butcher paper, tissue paper, and even fabric are other substitutes for wrapping paper.

After all, it’s the present inside- not the wrapping on the outside that will be remembered.