By: Allison Jia
We all love the feeling of unwrapping all those presents on Christmas Day, but have you ever stopped to wonder where all the wrapping paper ends up? Some wrapping paper ends up being recycled, already an expensive procedure, while other types of wrapping paper are not even able to be recycled, such as wrapping ‘paper’ made of combinations of paper and plastic, or worse, glitter and paper. These plastic containing papers often end up either incinerated or in landfill, adding to the exponentially growing problem of destroying our environment. As for glitter, the small sparkles often “clog up paper mill machinery,” ruining millions of dollars of equipment. In severe cases such as in the UK, entire bins of supposedly recyclable paper are thrown into landfill due to the risk of a small amount of glitter destroying paper mill equipment.
However, new solutions are being engineered to combat this problem of Christmas packaging waste. Companies are beginning to use fabric as wrapping ‘paper’; although it is more expensive, the used fabric can easily be reused to make clothes, blankets, and other commercial products. Other companies such as Amazon have focused on repurposing their packaging materials such as empty cardboard boxes to be used in donations and free shipping for charity organizations (in Amazon’s case, Goodwill). Now, this is the proper way to spread Christmas cheer!