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10 Sustainable and Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas

The festive period generates some of the highest wastage across 3 months of celebrations than any other time of the year, with the UK using 300,000 tonnes of card on gift packaging.

The environment needs some serious help to reverse the damage done to the planet to date, so we need to look at ways to reduce our carbon footprint and some of the smallest efforts, such as donating unwanted gifts, can make a big impact.

Eco-friendly gift wrapping has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, as we all become more conscious of our effect on the planet. If you’d like to try your hand at cutting your carbon footprint during festive periods, we’ve listed the top sustainable gift-wrapping ideas that will help to reduce wastage and make your gifts look beautiful.

Use material for wrapping presents

Whether it’s beautiful fabric from unloved clothes or off-cuts of spare fabric, using material to wrap your presents is a great way to save on paper as well as creating a gift that looks amazing.

A lot of Christmas wrapping paper isn’t recyclable, which adds to the landfill at this time of year. By using material that may otherwise be destined for landfill, you’re actually helping the environment.

For example, Furoshiki is a popular, aesthetic form of sustainable gift wrapping. These traditional Japanese materials and patterns make for fantastic gift wrap and can be reused over and over again.

Get creative with old newspaper

Newspapers are easily recyclable but make for interesting wrapping paper, so next time you’ve finished catching up on the daily news, you may want to consider storing the newspaper for future use.

Using old magazines or newspapers for your present wrapping can be a great way to utilise current paper already out there that would have otherwise ended up in the bin. With some skillful folding and a few snips of the scissors, a newspaper can become fanciful gift-toppers

Just remember, if you’re wrapping gifts that need to be protected from newspaper ink, that you pre-wrap with plain packaging first, or save the newspaper for those gifts that are more resistant.

Tape-free wrapping techniques

One of the biggest polluters when it comes to wrapping gifts is sticky tape, due to the plastic components that can’t be recycled. For years, the use of tape has been scrutinised due to its detrimental effect on the environment and its inability to be reused.

In addition, any wrapping paper that has tape on it is contaminated, and can’t be recycled, adding to the wastage of gift wrapping.

As a result, many sustainable gift wrappers have gravitated towards tape-free wrapping techniques.

There are some incredible videos out there on ways to wrap different shaped gifts without the need for tape using clever folding techniques, making it a great way to reduce your plastic usage at this time of year.

Reuse delivery boxes

We all love to beat the high street crowds with a bit of online shopping, and as online deliveries spike at this time of year, we can use this opportunity to make use of boxes that are perfect for present giving.

Why not save on the costs of rolls of paper and opt to upcycle the number of boxes that you get through the post? Remove address labels and blank out any other personal information before giving and use creative ways to make these look pretty.

Ditch the bows and decorate with foliage

There is a way to adorn your presents in a more sustainable way if you are concerned that all the ribbons and gift tags you thoughtfully use to wrap your Christmas gifts will most likely be thrown in the bin. Plastic bows look beautiful but offer nothing more than adding to landfill after Xmas is all done and dusted.

Christmas is the perfect time of year to immerse yourself in the outdoors and source out some beautiful natural decorations for your presents. From holly leaves to cinnamon sticks, there are so many ways to adorn your gifts with some gorgeous foliage and make them look even more festive than a traditional bow.

Personalise brown paper

There has been a surge in the sale of brown paper for present wrapping the past few years due to its versatility and rustic look being part of its appeal. Brown paper is unbleached, giving it a natural look, its chemical treatment is kept to an absolute minimum, making it a 100% natural material.

Another benefit is the ability to personalise the paper, so why not get your craft box out and make your packages pop with some painted stencils. Brown paper provides you with endless creative possibilities, allowing you to personalise your gift wrapping, all while helping the environment.

Tie with string instead of tape

As well as tape free wrapping, why not wrap your presents the old-fashioned way by tying with string? String gives your gifts a classic, stylish look as well as helping to reduce our impact on the environment.

Twine is easier to recycle and can also be used time and time again if saved from the presents. You don’t also need a traditional coloured string, many stationers now have strings in different colours so you can make your presents unique and festive.

Experiment with string instead of this tape this festive period and take a step towards a greener Christmas.

Choose to use a gift bag

Whether it’s a tote bag, paper gift bag or even a rucksack as part of the present, giving a gift bag means it can be reused time and time again. Reusing is often better than recycling so giving a wrapping solution that can be passed on for other gift exchanges saves new items being bought and helps divert rubbish from landfill.

Alternative options for gift tags

A unique and cute gift tag idea is to get a photo of the person you’re gifting to and write a personalised message on the back and they can keep the photo as a reminder of their lovely gift. Everyday household items can be used as gift tags if you fancy being creative enough, or you can reuse items such as:

  • Old greetings cards
  • Scrapbook or craft paper
  • Magazine clippings

Another idea is to create a gift tag that can then be hung on the Xmas tree each year afterwards. Use salt dough to create their initial, a star or something even more inventive if you fancy getting creative.

Reusable tins for presents

People love a gift that is practical so why not look at giving your presents in a tin or usable box? Not just used for food storage, tins are perfect for keeping things neat and tidy in any room of the home. Look into local companies for some truly unique designs or go to your local stores and see what they have on offer; you may find they’re more affordable than rolls of wrapping paper!

These are just some of our ideas for sustainable wrapping ideas, but we’d love to hear if you have any others. Remember, use and take care of the items you already have as a rule of leading a more low-impact lifestyle. You should thus inspire everyone around you to do the same by clearing the cobwebs off of the wrapping paper you currently own.

Let us know on social and don’t forget to send us some pictures of your favourite wrapping ideas.