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Apprentices from Make UK’s Technology Hub in Aston have come to the rescue of inept and wasteful Christmas present packers everywhere, with a mathematical formula for wrapping gifts this festive season.

The manufacturing and engineering students have developed a blueprint to ensure the optimum amount of paper and sticky tape is used on every present, minimising on both time and waste.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), estimates that every Christmas the UK uses enough paper to gift-wrap the island of Guernsey. Defra also estimates that each year, 83 sq km of wrapping paper ends up in UK rubbish bins.

The Make UK apprentices’ formula for the right amount of paper to use for a gift is (w = 2h) x (2w + 2d) where w = width, d = depth and h = height of the box.

Stephen Mitchell, Director of Apprentices and Technical Training, Make UK, said: “Our students are constantly challenged to look at ways to improve processes and ways of thinking, and they approached this brief in the same way. There’s an art in wrapping presents - but also a science.”

Make UK is holding two open days for next year’s autumn intake of apprentices, on January 25th and March 28th 2020. For information go to

News / Apprenticeships