Christmas is just around the corner and the most wonderful time of year can also be one of the most wasteful. With an estimated 50,000 trees needed to make the over 100 million rolls of wrapping paper used over the festive period in the UK alone, your choice of wrapping paper should be about more than what co-ordinates with the baubles on your tree and instead the focus should be on how environmentally friendly it is and whether it can be recycled or not.
With a nation of more sustainable savvy shoppers, recyclable Christmas wrapping paper is widely available this year from a whole host of retailers – but who comes out on top? We’ve compared the most popular festive wrap sellers to see who’s going to be Christmas number one in the eco wrapping paper charts:
B&M are famous for their bargains, and their Christmas wrapping paper is certainly no exception here. At just £1 for 12 metres of wrapping paper, it’s certainly the cheapest we’ve seen. However, the real cost comes at the expense of the planet as none of the low-cost wrap can be recycled. When we asked B&M why, they explained it was due to the combination of materials used and advised that availability of recyclable wrapping paper options is something they’re looking to improve on.
A stationery supplier who are, in their own words, ‘keen to be green’ it may come as a surprise that only just over half of their Christmas wrapping paper can be recycled. Shiny foil wrapping paper is Paperchase’s downfall and unfortunately makes up a not insignificant amount of their range. It is a shame that a retailer with sustainability supposedly so high on their agenda needs to stock so many different types of unrecyclable foil wrapping paper when alternatives are easily available. Even more so that the foil options are mainly aimed at children – and even the most angelic of children are really only interested in what’s underneath the paper.
As usual, WH Smith have a huge range of Christmas wrapping paper this year with almost 60 different patterns available. 60% of the wrapping papers are recyclable which does raise the question why stock more than the 35 recyclable papers as that number still offers a comprehensive range to shoppers. WH Smith are also stocking wrapping paper which is decorated with biodegradable glitter which is a great swap – however these papers aren’t recyclable. So close yet so far!
Next have been silently making moves with their sustainability journey and have already achieved a 50% reduction in their carbon emissions and diverted 97% of waste from landfill, so our expectations were high when it came to the eco credentials of their wrapping paper. Almost 80% of Next’s wrapping paper is recyclable this year, with their foil-based luxury wraps letting them down. Whilst wanting a premium looking and feeling wrapping paper is understandable, it shouldn’t come at a cost to the planet as even just a thicker paper can translate the luxury look and feel without contaminating the paper with unnecessary extra unrecyclable materials.
For many of us, watching the John Lewis Christmas advert marks the start of the holiday season, it’s safe to say we expected them to take the festive period seriously – and we weren’t disappointed. With their sister brand Waitrose leading the way with eco-friendly package free food shopping, they clearly understand their responsibility to influence consumer behaviour for the better, and as such, John Lewis and Waitrose have ensured all of their Christmas wrapping paper is fully recyclable. They’ve also ditched glitter this year to guarantee the recyclability of their paper, proving they are a conscious retailer wanting to help their customers make better choices for the future of our planet.
Marks & Spencer
Taking home the prestigious Christmas number one this year is Marks and Spencer. And if you’re wondering how you top John Lewis’ offering of only stocking fully recyclable paper; M&S have the answer - going plastic free. Recognising that not only is the used wrapping paper a source of waste but the plastic the paper is wrapped in is as well, M&S have made the decision to bare it all and are opting to add an extra 15cm of paper to every wrapping paper roll to limit any damage instead. And they haven’t stopped there – they’ve also included reusable wrapping paper in their range this year. It is quite pricey coming in at £12 for just two wraps, so it may not be the most practical for those who are particularly generous at Christmas time, but... it’s £12 for 2 wraps for life... so definitely a step in the right direction.
Sustainable wrapping paper solutions are far more accessible ahead of Christmas 2021 as retailers are taking their responsibility to the environment more seriously this year – although some are more than others. The most important thing to remember here is that buying recyclable wrapping paper isn’t job done, it’s making sure you and your family and friends knowing it’s recyclable and acting accordingly – don’t forget to do the scrunch test!
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