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Gift Wrap Recycling And Holiday Card Reusing Tips (Photos)

First Posted: 12/27/11 02:57 PM ET   Updated: 12/27/11 03:30 PM ET

From Earth911's Alexis Petru:

With the holidays winding down, you may soon be tossing cards and wrapping paper in the recycling bin and unrecyclable tissue paper and gift bags in the trash.

Earth911 thinks these holiday items -- with their ornate designs and fun messages -- are simply too beautiful to throw out, even if they’ll get a second life as a recycled product. From placemats to ornaments, check out these cool ways to reuse holiday cards and gift wrap around your home and community.

List and captions courtesy of Earth911.

Save gift wrap for next year
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Many families already reuse gift bags and bows year after year to save money. But did you know you can also use wrapping paper and tissue paper more than once?

If you have pieces of wrapping paper that weren't torn too badly during gift opening, domestic goddess Martha Stewart recommends ironing the paper on a low setting to flatten wrinkles. Then just roll it back onto the tube and save it for next year.

GiftDecorating blogger Gina even found a way to use tissue paper, which gets damaged and wrinkled easily, a second time. Crumble two sheets of used colored tissue into a ball, and then smooth them out to create an elegant, uniformly wrinkled look. Wrap your gift with the tissue and decorate with holiday images cut out from used wrapping paper or cards.

What if your leftover wrapping and tissue paper aren't in good enough condition to use again? Follow this Instructables tutorial, which shows you how to run old wrapping and tissue paper through a paper shredder to create colorful shredded paper you can use to decorate gift bags and baskets or to pad gifts you're shipping.

You can also upcycle this year's holiday cards for next year's gift tags. Simply cut out a gift tag shape and write your message on the blank side. Or, as Martha Stewart suggests, use a stencil to draw the recipient's initial on the card and cut it out. Then, with either option, punch a hole in the tag and attach it to the gift with ribbon or yarn.

Or if you're feeling crafty, CraftyPod blogger Diane Gilleland offers step-by-step directions to make a small gift box out of old greeting cards.

Flickr image courtesy of rwkvisual.
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Filed by James Gerken  |