First off, not all wrapping paper is, in fact, paper! Some wrapping paper is made from plastic films instead of paper and this is not recyclable.
An initial test of recyclability is known as the simple 'scrunch' test. If you scrunch the paper up into a ball and it stays 'scrunched' then it can probably be recycled. If you're unsure on this method, here's a quick demonstration courtesy of Recycle Now.
Then there's the paper that you think is paper but isn't great for the recycling system or particularly sustainable. This is the paper that may very well pass a scrunch test but could have a big impact on the recycling process.
Thin wrapping paper - This has very few good quality paper fibres, so when this is broken down into paper pulp, can compromise its ability to form new paper (1).
Laminated paper - this is wrapping paper that has a slight sheen to the surface. This can 'reinforce' a thinner paper but this can cause issues with the recycling process (2).
Glitter or foiled paper - This is paper that has gold or silver patterns running through it or glitter paper (1). The foil used in gold and silver paper isn't recyclable and neither is glitter. Glitter can clog up the recycling machinery and contaminate paper pulp rendering it unsellable (2).
Heavily patterned paper - The issue with heavily pattered paper is the ink used to produce it. Most ink used in the printing process is petroleum based and uses additional chemicals to be removed from the paper (3).
How our paper is different:
We only use 100gsm paper from FSC approved sources. GSM refers to 'gram per square metre' and indicates the density, for example, normal paper you use in your printer is typically 80gsm. So our paper is nice and thick, contains a lot of paper fibres and can be recycled alongside normal paper without compromising the pulps integrity during the process.
Our paper is never laminated and this gives it a beautiful matt finish.
We don't use foils or glitters in our paper but we're excited to see developments in these areas which means we may be able to in the future.
Our paper is printed using vegetable based inks which is more sustainable and easier to process during recycling.
Foiled Ribbon vs. Fabric ribbon
Foiled ribbon also known as 'curling ribbon' is made from foil coated polypropylene. The polypropylene itself is recyclable and can be used for plastic to plastic recycling. However, the foil used to make it shine and give it colour is not recyclable which means it must got to landfill (3).
Fabric ribbon is slightly different and its sustainability is more about the process of making the yarn and its environmental impact. Polyester is the most commonly used ribbon for gifting.
Polyester ribbon is made using coal, petroleum, air and water and this obviously has an environmental impact (4). The grosgrain ribbon sold by Cadeaux is made using PET plastic bottles which have been collected from the sea, sorted, washed and rewoven in a recycled polyester yarn using less heat and water than virgin yarn. The factories processing this aim to recycle 90% of their water and get 20% of their energy from solar power - something they are always look to improve. This process produces less greenhouse gases and saves 56 million bottles from landfill each year (5).
Plastic Tape vs Paper Tape
Plastic tape commonly referred to by its brand name of 'Sellotape' is not recyclable and clogs up the recycling machinery used to process the paper. This should be removed from all paper prior to popping it in your recycling bin (6).
We sell a paper based tape with natural adhesive that can be recycled or composted at home. Plus it's pretty!
In 2017, it was estimated that 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging was thrown away and not recycled in the UK during the festive period.
All of the packaging we use is 100% recyclable. We use triangular cardboard postage tubes which are secured using paper flaps to avoid using traditional tubes which have a plastic sealing disc. This is fixed using 100% recyclable paper tape which does not need to be removed from the packaging. Our postage boxes are also 100% recyclable and use the same paper tape as the tubes.
Our product packaging also uses the same principles. Our ribbon cards are made from recycled paper from FSC approved sources and are printed using the same vegetable based inks as our wrapping paper. This is also true of the stickers which hold our products in place. These are again made from paper from renewable FSC approved sources, using natural biodegradable adhesives which can be recycled. Our tag packaging is home compostable cellophane from renewable sources.