WT Skip Hire

How to Ditch Plastic and Glitter When Wrapping Gifts

Posted on: November 28, 2019

Sustainably wrapped christmas presents

Wrapping paper that is shiny, metallic or glittery cannot be easily recycled and most of it ends up in landfill. This year, the team at WT Skips are leading by example and wrapping their presents in compostable materials. Here are our tips for ditching the glitter and wrapping presents in a sustainable way that looks and feels super-festive!

Wrapping Paper Statistics

As a nation, we love to give and receive wrapped presents. And Christmas is our favourite time of year to do it! How much wrapping paper is needed to wrap all those presents? The UK uses a staggering 227,000 miles of the stuff every year. That’s enough to stretch from Earth to The Moon! And don’t forget the sticky tape! We use an average of a roll and a half per household – 15 million extra rolls. Long strips of gluey polypropylene play havoc with the paper recycling process and sticky tape should be separated from recyclable paper and disposed of in your regular waste bin.

The Paper

Good quality brown parcel paper can be ordered online or bought from Post Offices and larger supermarkets. Make sure you get a good thickness. Brown paper can be recycled and composted. If the gift is not torn open, it can re-used as wrapping paper. Discarded brown paper can be used for lighting a fire in the Christmas hearth. 

The paper we used for the presents pictured above is ECO craft roll.  If plain brown paper isn't "your thing" there are lots of options online for eco-paper printed with vegetable dyes, all fully recyclable. The tags on the gift are made from coloured ECO craft paper and are fully recyclable as well. 

Alternatives to Sticky Tape

We’ve gone for compostable string this year, but colourful ribbon is an alternative that can be reused again and again. Check out the free tutorials online for making creative bows.


We’re adding seasonal touches to our present wrapping that will make our presents smell as festive as they look:

• Pine Cones – Carol has been out ‘foraging’ on her early winter woodland walks.
• Cinnamon Sticks – Buy decorative ones that are cheaper than food grade quality.
• Spruce Twigs – Christmas tree vendors will literally give these away.
• Orange Slices – See recipe below

pine cones on a forest floor

Make Your Own Dried Orange Slices for Christmas Tree and Gift Decoration

1. Slice ripe unbruised oranges into 1cm thick slices
2. Pat with kitchen paper
3. Place on a metal cooking rack to allow air to circulate
4. Bake in the oven on a low heat (100-120°C) for three to four hours
5. Keep a close eye to make sure they don’t start to burn
6. Remove dried orange slices from the oven and let them cool
7. Thread them on ribbon to attach to presents or hang on your tree

Top Tip – why not try experimenting with other citrus fruits for different colours, shapes and aromas?

Wrapping for Charity

Turns out there are two types of staff member here at WT Skips: Those who love wrapping presents (Carol) and those who consider wrapping presents to be something of a chore (everyone else). Last year, we came up with a brilliant solution that works for everyone. In return for a donation to the East Anglia Children’s Hospice, Carol will wrap everyone’s presents! This year – she will be doing so in a wholly sustainable manner.

Are you making any changes to help the planet this Christmas? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.