Can You Compost Wrapping Paper or Gift Wraps?

can you compost wrapping paper
Yes, wrapping paper is compostable. Gift wraps, newspaper, tissue paper, cardboard boxes, and envelopes can be composted in your backyard compost pile. In addition, many types of wrapping papers are fully recyclable.

However, not all wrapping papers can compost. Sometimes, glossy papers have a metallic coating such as lead, arsenic, and cadmium that cannot be composted.

Also, those with foil-like sheen color probably have foil underneath and should not be added to your compost bin.

They may contain toxic substances harmful to the soil; instead, you can recycle or reuse them. 

Can You Compost Christmas Wrapping Paper?

Yes, some are compostable.

Christmas wrapping papers that are made from polyethylene film and polypropylene film are also safe to compost. 

But dyed, laminated, or non-paper additives such as glitters, plastics, gold, and glossy papers are not compostable.

Fortunately, you can still recycle this type of wrapping paper.

Is Wrapping Paper Toxic in Any Way?

We are continuously witnessing debates on whether or not wrapping paper is toxic. Some claim it’s hazardous to our health and environment, while others say it’s perfectly safe.

So which is it?

There are environmentally friendly wrapping papers, just as there are toxic ones. The issue has to do with the types of inks and dyes used to print the patterns on wrapping paper (and their resulting chemicals) than with the paper itself.

Most wrapping papers are made from recycled materials. The dyes used in printing are generally made from non-toxic pigments or vegetable dye extract, which is excellent for the environment. 

However, some papers contain dyes with heavy metals —lead, mercury, and cadmium, which can be toxic.

On top of this, some papers contain plastic film coatings and can release antimony trioxide when burned. Antimony trioxide is a known human carcinogen.

These papers aren’t fully recyclable.

What Paper Should Not Be Composted?

Papers that are glossy, waxed, or laminated are not compostable. In most cases, the inks, glues, and glosses used in these papers are not water-based and eco-friendly.

How Long Does It Take For Wrapping Paper To Decompose?

Wrapping papers made from organic materials may take 3 to 6 weeks to decompose. However, those that have metals or plastic may never decompose.

Is wrapping paper brown or green material?

Gift wrap is brown material. Other common brown materials are dry leaves, straws, and sawdust.

Browns provide energy for the microorganisms breaking down the organic materials (food waste) in your compost. They also add bulk and allow air to penetrate through the pile.

What Wrapping Paper/ Gift Wrap Is Eco-Friendly?

Eco-friendly wrapping papers are those you can recycle, reuse, or compost. Here are some of the best options for gift wrap that uses recycled materials:

1. Gift Wraps Made From Cotton

Cotton is the perfect material for manufacturing gift wraps. The gift wraps are washable and easy to work with.

It is an excellent choice because it’s a natural fiber making it more biodegradable than synthetic gift wraps.

2. Canvas Gift Boxes

Canvas is durable and sturdy, making it an ideal option. Canvas is a plain-woven fabric made from biodegradable cotton fibers.

3. Gift Wraps Made From Jutes

Jute is a soft, shiny vegetable fiber with long threads. The plants are easy to grow and require little water. They make sturdy fabrics that stand the test of time.

Jute gift bags or wraps are versatile, eco-friendly, durable, and have great texture.

4. Wrapping Papers Made From Non-Woven and Woven Polypropylene 

The non-woven polypropylene is light in weight and sturdy. The material is made from by-products of manufactured oil, making them more eco-friendly than plastics.

The product is 100% recyclable.

5. Recyclable Wrapping Paper

Recyclable wrapping papers are made from recycled materials such as newspapers and decompose naturally.

6. Newspaper or Brown Paper

Instead of buying wrapping papers, recycle old newspapers and turn it into eco-friendly gift wrap.

Traditional newspapers are eco-friendly.

To summarize, wrapping papers or gift papers can be composted. However, there are a lot of precautions that should be taken. Ensure that the wrapping papers are biodegradable and don’t contain glue or other toxic heavy inks that may affect the soil. 


Discovering composting as a way of life or even better, as nature’s way of recycling, Ana dedicates her time to trying out new methods of composting at home. Her goal is to share everything that she’s learned in the hopes that it will help others discover the amazing rewards of composting.

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