9 eco-friendly alternatives to wrapping paper that will set your gift apart
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Did you know that Australians use 150,000 kilometres of wrapping paper during the festive season – enough to wrap around the Earth’s equator almost four times.
Considering it’s designed to be torn into shreds and tossed away in less than 60 seconds, you wonder just how much of that is going straight into landfill.
Your typical wrapping paper and a lot of tissue paper usually can’t be recycled because it’s often dyed and laminated, or may contain glitter, all of which are not recyclable.
If you’re looking for budget-friendly ways to go zero-waste, changing how your wrap presents is a great sustainable habit to adopt. You can still wrap presents beautifully without making a lot of waste in the process.
Luckily, there are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives to wrapping paper.
cheap and creative eco-friendly alternatives to Wrapping Paper
old Tote bags
Have too many random tote bags hanging around the house? Give your gift in a tote bag for a 2-in-1 present. Making the wrapping as part of the present will make your gift even more meaningful.
Newspaper or magazine
Newspapers are commonly recommended as a more environmentally friendly gift wrap alternative. Try the comic pages for a fun design, or pick up an international newspaper for a worldly look.
Fabric or cloth are easy sustainable wrapping swaps and are great for oddly-shaped items.
The Japanese art of Furoshiki is a very versatile and impactful wrapping option and can work for gifts of all shapes and sizes. No need for sticky tape either. How nice does it look?
It’s also a creative way to wrap wine bottles!
old GIFT BAGS, gift boxes and WRAPPING paper
Upcycle gift bags, wrapping paper, gift boxes or ribbons others have given you.
It’s the Pinterest and Instagram wrapper’s material of choice, but is brown paper really better than wrapping paper? Sure it’s not zero-waste but brown/kraft paper is easier to recycle than shiny mainstream wrapping paper. So if you have to choose , go brown.
Those empty salsa, pasta, jam or candle jars are a budget-friendly gift wrapping alternative and perfect for housing homemade goodies. Dress them up with twine and recycled ribbons, and if you’ve lost the lid, try fabric instead.
I’m actually obsessed with this idea. While it would be besides the point to go out and buy a map for this purpose, if you have an old one lying around the house gathering dust, this is a unique option that will certainly stand out. Maps from old street directories could work, too.
Get creative with decor
Use stamps instead of name tags, paint a fancy bow instead of using a plastic one, or embellish your gifts with flowers, leaves, twigs, or even pinecones from your garden. Cinnamon sticks, dehydrated fruit or fresh herbs will take make gift giving a truly sensory experience.
sticky tape swaps
Choosing a reusable ribbon or twine to hold wrapping paper in place means you won’t need sticky tape, and paper will be in a better condition to be reused. With a little finesse, it is possible to wrap a gift using just paper itself.
make your gift memorable
There are plenty of environmentally-friendly wrapping ideas to try out this holiday season and beyond.
Even with the best intention to recycle as much as possible, reducing your waste in the first place with eco-friendly alternatives to wrapping paper is much kinder to the planet.
What are your favourite wrapping paper alternatives? Share them in the comments below!