How to Master the Art of Sustainable Gift Wrapping This Holiday Season


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Wrapping a gift can be as fun as giving it — it expresses the creativity and whimsy characteristic of the holidays.

Let this year be when you switch to more sustainable gift wrapping because everyone wants to feel good about what they give and receive.

Why Sustainable Gift Wrapping Makes a Difference


There are many options for your aesthetic and financial preferences, which is great because the planet deals with a lot during the holidays. Over 2.3 million pounds of wrapping paper ends up in landfills yearly — and that’s not even considering how many actual presents go to waste. Increasing education on what’s available is crucial for making eco-friendliness the default option.

Gift wrap is waxy, glittery, foiled and dyed, which renders it virtually unrecyclable in most facilities. Though recyclable gift wrap exists, stores publicize the shiny, glitzy papers more. While those rolls are usually less expensive, it’s worth the extra few dollars to lessen gift wrap’s environmental burden.

How to Wrap with Sustainable Options


Now that you’re inspired to wrap gifts with the planet in mind, browse alternatives to wasteful wrapping paper.

Furoshiki Wrapping and Fabric

This is one of the most popular and elegant methods. Made famous in Japan, Furoshiki uses fabric — like bandanas, scarves, or scraps — to wrap the gift neatly with a knot. Though the climate impact of textiles is notable, you can easily keep fabrics for reuse or return them to the gift-giver if requested. If you’re a sewer, use the textile scraps to create pillows, denim patches and cleaning towels.

Fabric bags and totes are other options because people can easily repurpose them for shopping, organization, and travel. Try to find certified organic, local textiles made with plant-based dyes.

Brown or Kraft Paper

Brown or kraft paper is genuinely recyclable compared to coated, conventional wrapping. Many packages arriving on your doorstep come with brown paper as padding instead of bubble wrap — instead of tossing it, repurpose it to create a rustic aesthetic. The blank canvas is the ideal space to get crafty with embellishments.

Dissolvable Paper

Give dissolvable sustainable gift wrappings that use Earth-friendly inks and water-soluble materials like wood pulp a try. These effortlessly fade in the sink or shower without polluting waterways.

Mushroom Packaging

You can use several food-based boxing options to conceal your gift without feeling the need to wrap it. Mushroom roots make an unexpectedly durable eco-friendly, renewable packaging that is biodegradable and earth-conscious. It has an interesting texture that still gives it visual interest.

Newspaper and Magazines

Though newspapers and magazines aren’t commonly delivered to doorsteps anymore, you might have some lying around collecting dust. Most of these materials are widely recyclable, though you should always check with local facilities.

A Gift Inside a Gift

If you’re spending a little extra money on someone, consider getting them another practical gift to serve as the “wrapping” for an additional present inside.

The following could be delightful and reusable gift boxes:

  • Picnic baskets
  • Cookie containers and tins
  • Mason jars
  • Luggage, backpacks, or purses
  • Decorative baskets and Tupperware

Go Paperless

This is a slightly radical option to some, especially if you love the element of surprise involved in gift-giving. However, you don’t have to hide everything — the most sustainable gift-wrapping option is none at all, challenging cultural norms that gift-giving must involve waste. Instead, help friends and family discover ways to dispose of any packaging surrounding the present ethically.

Additional Sustainable Wrapping Tips


The paper is the predominant part of the unwrapping process, but what about the flair?

Here are other considerations to make to level up the eco-friendliness of your gift:

  • Ditch plastic bows and ribbons for materials like reusable twine.
  • Replace clear plastic tape that uses toxic adhesives with eco-aware alternatives or washi tape.
  • Decorate the outside with compostable and natural materials, such as pinecones, greenery, or dried fruit.
  • Ask friends about their wrapping preferences. For example, someone who already has too many tote bags might be wary of receiving another.
  • Overcome aesthetic imperfections from reusing. Your gift might have wrinkles from repurposing brown paper or magazines, but that doesn’t diminish the value of what you’re giving.
  • Switch out disposable gift tags. The label presents anything from iced cookies to framed photos of family members already in the house.

Give the Planet a Present with Sustainable Gift Wrapping

Let the waste generated during the gift-giving season motivate you to change your wrapping routines to prepare for an eco-friendly Christmas. You’ll impress friends and family with your inventiveness, making the desire to help the planet contagious. Together, the holidays can become greener than the evergreen trees.


About Bella Greenwood 80 Articles
Eco Warrior by day, Eco Blogger by night trying to get the eco balance right.

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