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Can You Burn Wrapping Paper? Is It Safe?

wrapping paper

Did you know that of the 5 million tons of waste generated during Christmas, 4 million of those tons are wrapping paper and shopping bags?

While wrapping paper looks lovely when wrapping gifts, it’s not so great for the environment. This is because it contains inorganic compounds that are non-biodegradable. It, therefore, takes centuries to decompose in landfills.

So, what can you do with all that wrapping paper after the holidays are over? Can you burn wrapping paper? Is it safe?

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What Is Wrapping Paper Made Of?

Wrapping paper is mostly made of cellulose, which is derived from wood pulp. Cellulose is a natural, renewable resource. However, most wrapping papers are coated with inorganic compounds like plastics and metals to give them a glossy or shimmery finish.

These inorganic compounds make wrapping paper non-biodegradable and difficult to recycle. All wrapping paper can be recycled except those with non-paper additives like dye, laminate, and plastics.

If the wrapping paper is labeled “recycling safe,” then you can recycle it. If not, it goes straight to the landfill, where it will sit for centuries before decomposing.

ashes from burnt wood
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

So, Can You Burn Wrapping Paper?

Yes, wrapping paper will burn. However, wrapping paper is not a good fuel source. It burns quickly and doesn’t produce much heat. In addition, wrapping paper produces a lot of smoke when burned.

The smoke produced consists of harmful chemicals like dioxins and furans. These chemicals can cause respiratory problems, skin problems, and cancer. However, the real issue with burning wrapping paper is the ink. Wrapping paper ink often contains lead, cadmium, and chromium.

When you burn wrapping paper, these harmful metals are released into the air. They can settle on surfaces and be breathed in. This can cause serious health problems like respiratory problems, skin problems, and even cancer.

What’s more, burning wrapping paper is also a fire hazard. Small pieces of wrapping paper can float up and land on something flammable, then start a fire. This can lead to serious fires and large-scale property damage.

So, if you’re considering burning wrapping paper, we advise against it. There are much better ways to dispose of wrapping paper properly.

How to Dispose of Wrapping Paper Without Burning It

If you don’t want to burn wrapping paper, there are other ways to dispose of it properly. For instance, you can:


As mentioned earlier, wrapping paper can be recycled as long as it doesn’t have any non-paper additives. If the wrapping paper is labeled “recycling safe,” then you can recycle it. You can also check the manufacturer’s website to find information on whether you can recycle the wrapping paper.

Image Credit: Shirley810, Pixabay


If the wrapping paper is still in good condition, you can reuse it next year or for another occasion. Be sure to store it properly so that it doesn’t get damaged.

If you have wrapping paper that you don’t want to reuse, consider donating it to a local school, daycare, or senior center. They might be able to use it for art projects or other activities.


Consider Composting

If the wrapping paper is made of 100% cellulose, you can compost it. Just be sure to shred it into small pieces first so that it decomposes faster.

As you can see, there are many ways to dispose of wrapping paper without burning it.

top view of food composting bin
Image Credit: photographyfirm, Shutterstock

Greener Alternatives to Wrapping paper

If you are looking for greener alternatives to wrapping paper, there are many options available. For instance, you can use:

  • Towels or scarves
  • Old maps
  • Brown craft paper
  • Reusable fabric wrapping
  • Furoshiki wrapping cloth
  • Reusable gift bags

You can even get creative with it and use things like wrapping paper scraps, biodegradable candy wrappers, or even newspapers. Have some fun with it!

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Final Thoughts: Don’t Burn Wrapping Paper

To conclude, burning wrapping paper is a bad idea. Not only is it bad for your health, but it is also bad for the environment. There are much better ways to dispose of wrapping paper properly. So, next time you need to get rid of wrapping paper, consider recycling it, reusing it, or composting it. Again, watch YouTube videos for creative ways to wrap your gifts without wrapping paper.

Featured Image Credit By: Pixabay


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