Ahhh….gift wrapping. You spend forever wrapping gifts neatly and with care. And then the wrap ends up torn, shredded, wrinkled, and balled up before being tossed on the floor (or into a garbage bag if you are lucky.)
How many garbage bags of wrapping paper does your family throw out during the holidays? As a kid, my parents probably threw out 3 or 4 bags full.
Not only is that just a ton of waste being chucked into the landfill, though it’s beautiful glittery waste, it’s also a total waste of money and not environmentally friendly.
The Truth About Wrapping Paper
- Wrapping paper is made not only from trees, but also synthetic dye and plastic lamination.
- The plastic and other components, such as glitter and the tape we use to wrap with, often make wrapping paper an unsuitable candidate for recycling.
- These materials often end up in our oceans and are responsible for contamination
- We spend about $2.6 billion dollars a year on wrapping paper
- We throw away approximately 4 million tons of wrapping paper and shopping bags every year
I have heard of people asking their family to unwrap their presents as delicately as possible so they could fold up the paper and store it away for later use. While that could work for some families – I have a toddler and long distance family so this is pretty unreasonable for us and I would assume many others feel the same way!
So, what are some alternative options to disposable wrapping paper that often cannot be recycled?
15 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Wrapping Paper
- Gift wrap made from recycled materials
- You don’t need to get too creative or outside of the box if that’s not your thing – simply purchase some wrapping paper from recycled materials! These prints are made from 100% post-consumer paper:
Many of us simply opt to get our news from the Internet these days, but if you still receive the newspaper, starting saving it and use it as wrapping paper! Bonus points if you wrap a sports lover’s gift with the sports section or a comic lover’s gift with the colorful comic section.
- Kitchen Towels
Kitchen towels can double as gift wrap and a gift all in one! These would particularly awesome to wrap new kitchen utensils or tools with, since they not only belong in the kitchen as well, but are hard to wrap with traditional wrapping paper.
Blankets are something that can also double as both wrapping “paper” and a gift. They would be great for wrapping large presents.
- Recycled paper shopping bags
Let’s be real, we can preach all day about bringing reusable totes to the grocery store…but please tell me I am not the only one who forgets them more often than not! I have an abundance of paper grocery bags. And they are perfect to use as gift wrap! Stick your gift right into the bag, or cut the paper to fit the gift and wrap up just like you normally would. Make it a fun craft for the kids and let them paint or draw on the wrap.
- Tote bags
Here is where those reusable tote bags really come in handy! Tote bags are a great alternative to gift wrap. I have an abundance of totes and reusable bags, and am always collecting them, so it’s not a big deal to use a couple when I’m shipping gifts off to family. Reusable bags are also a way for babies and toddlers to easily open Christmas and birthday gifts. My two year old tends to get pretty frustrated with regular wrapping paper.
Baskets are totally underrated when it comes to gift giving. But they are the perfect way to “wrap” so many presents. Whether you’re gifting a few jars of jam and homemade bread, or a beard care kit for your husband or dad, baskets are definitely the way to go. Easy and no fuss! Plus, they are so functional and versatile that they are a gift of their own. Baskets are my favorite way to give baby shower gifts. I always like to wrap a beautiful pastel bow around it.
- Just a bow or ribbon
Some gifts already come in boxes that do not give away what is inside. Or, the packaging is so gorgeous on it’s own that it would be a crime to wrap. In this case, just toss a bow or some ribbon on it! This is a simple way to “wrap” very large gifts, as well.
- Butcher paper
- Scrap Fabric
Are you a scrap fabric hoarder? (I know there are many of you out there!) Make it useful and use it as a gift wrap. Gorgeous and functional.
Burlap is super festive for the holidays and works really well for wrapping presents.
- Old posters or maps
Have any old maps or posters laying around? They are perfect for using as repurposed gift wrap. Even if you don’t like the print on the poster, you can turn it over to the blank side, decorate it and write messages on it after wrapping the gift.
- Reusable fabric gift wrap
Did you know you actually buy fabric gift wrap? It is incredibly gorgeous! And the best part – you can reuse it time after time.
- Old stockings
Every few years or so, I get the itch to buy new stockings. If you’re like me, don’t toss the old stockings. Keep them and use them to conceal other gifts! Stockings are useful for items that are hard to wrap.
- Pillow Cases
Pillow cases with beautiful prints can make for gorgeous gift wrap. You know what they are also good for? Wrapping up items like Lego’s and wooden blocks! Just stuff the pillow cases with the toys and tie it off with a ribbon.
Save money and go green for the holidays by trying out some of these eco-friendly gift wrap ideas!
Need some inspiration for eco-friendly and green gifts? Check out these gift guides: