If sellotape or plastic stickytape is left on wrapping paper when I recycle it, does it matter? (or how much does it matter?)

What happens to it during the recycling process?

Let's assume I separate and exclude any gift wrapping made from plastic.

  • It seems any answer to this question would apply to lots of paper products which include bits of tape - like any sort of mailing envelope, boxes, etc. It might be helpful to expand the context a bit.
    – LShaver
    Dec 29, 2016 at 3:55
  • You can donate unwanted wrapping paper on BoxGiver Nov 12, 2021 at 20:05

1 Answer 1


This may depend on where you are (who does the processing and collecting, and what is the paper recycled into). I know for sure that here (The Netherlands) it does not matter: tape parts, staples, and paper clips are sieved out of the pulp when recycling the paper.

I assume this is the case in all processes, you see this mentioned at many places:

From The paper recycling process at paperonline.org:

Having reached the paper mill, it is 'slushed' into pulp and large non-fibrous contaminants are removed (for example staples, plastic, glass etc.).

or, from this video at 3:27

The pulp travels through screens that trap and take away dirt and small stones

The processing companies just can't take the chance that contamination ruins the paper or machines further down the chain.

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