Can wrapping paper be recycled? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Can wrapping paper be recycled?

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- According to, wrapping paper and shopping bags alone account for about four million tons of trash in the U.S. Every year.

Chances are you have already wrapped your presents this year, but just because it's wrapped in paper doesn't mean it's recyclable.

It might not look like Santa's Workshop but workers here at Dittmer Recycling in Dubuque have been very busy since the day after Thanksgiving.

"The holiday season is very busy because of the parties and the presents. The recycling almost doubles in volume," said Scott Dittmer, owner of Dittmer Recycling.

Except not everything coming in by the truckload is being recycled. It turns out that glamorous wrapping paper under the tree can't be recycled.

"The biggest problem is there's a lot of foil, glitter, bows and heavy inks on the material which makes it not recyclable," said Ditmmer

Dittmer says even if you think your wrapping paper is recyclable, you should put it in the trash.

"The problem is there is some of it that is recyclable. The average person it'd be very difficult to know what is and what is not. So it's better that it all goes to the landfill otherwise our material will be contaminated," said Dittmer.

And that means some of the good material will go to waste. Dittmer says they receive recyclable materials from all around the area.

"We get all kinds of material. The biggest is cardboard and newspaper. We ship it to mills and it's put back into cardboard or newspaper," said Dittmer.

Unfortunately, the foil lined, glitter filled paper wrapping your presents, will not make it far in here.

Once you get done unwrapping your presents, Dittmer says it's important to flatten those cardboard boxes, which are recyclable. He says if you don't want to use that you can always use newspaper which is always recyclable.

And here are a few more eco-friendly wrapping ideas:

You could tape together the glossy pages of your favorite magazine, for a fun and creative look.

Sheet music is another idea. The recipient's favorite song would add special meaning to the gift.

And what about a map? Favorite places or dream destinations would provide a fun touch.

Also a fun family idea: brown paper bags. Have your kids decorate them with crayons, markers or paint and it'll add a very special personal touch to every gift.

Another option, save wrapping paper and reuse it next year.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

Follow Lauren on Twitter.








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