Zero Waste and Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas
It’s that time of year! I absolutely love the holiday season. I love baking Christmas cookies, decorating the house, and listening to Christmas music! However, I know this season is notorious for being wasteful. According to the EPA, “between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, American household waste increases by more than 25 percent. Trash cans full of holiday food waste, shopping bags, bows and ribbons, packaging, and wrapping paper contribute an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills.”
The stats are depressing I know, but there ARE ways to enjoy this holiday season in an eco-friendly way. I chose to gift mostly experience gifts to my family this year, but there are lots of options for zero waste gift giving.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect sustainable gifts for you friends and family, how about wrapping these thoughtfully purchased Christmas presents??
Luckily, there are many alternatives to traditional gift wrapping these days. I’ve whipped up this handy little blog post to help you with all your zero waste and eco friendly gift wrapping needs!
Reuse Gift Bags, Bows, and Tissue Paper
I think one of the easiest zero-waste gift wrapping options is using what you already have. We have a stash of all sorts of holiday gifts bags and tissue paper that we’ve collected from previous holiday celebrations. If you don’t have a stash of your own, think about it this year! When your family is opening presents, collect all of those gift bags, ribbons, plastic bows, and tissue paper to use again next year.
It’s a great way to prevent holiday waste from going to the landfill and also will save you money! It doesn’t just apply to holiday gift bags, honestly. We collected a lot of baby gift bags at our baby shower for Vasco last year, and I plan to use them to wrap gifts for other friends’ baby showers in the future. << Zero Waste Baby Registry Info Here >>
Furoshiki Eco Friendly Gift Wrap
My second favorite zero waste gift wrapping option is furoshiki! Have you heard of it before? The furoshiki method is a traditional Japanese cloth wrapping method. Not only is it eco friendly, but it’s absolutely beautiful. Want to wow your family this holiday season? Furoshiki wrap their gifts this year!
There are lots of tutorials online to show you how to wrap furoshiki. I’d say start with watching a Youtube video. Just type “furoshiki” in the search bar and there are heaps of videos you can learn from. You need a square piece of fabric to wrap your gifts this way.
I used vintage scarves for my furoshiki wrap but any piece of fabric will do. Check your local thrift store or vintage store to find secondhand fabrics you can use for wrapping. You can get super creative with this one, choosing different colored and textured fabrics! This is an especially good option for wrapping small gifts. You can even use tea towels or linen napkins!
Kraft Paper and Paper Tape for Sustainable Gift Wrapping
Furoshiki gift wrap isn’t your style? No worries! How about wrapping your gifts with brown paper and paper tape, instead of plastic tape? Yep, that’s right. There is such a thing as paper tape. I use it daily to ship out all of my Tiny Yellow Bungalow zero waste packages, but you can also use it for gift wrapping this holiday season.
You can always find paper tape on Amazon, but sometimes it’s also available in local stores. In the pictures below, you’ll see I tied up my packages with simple hemp chording as well. It looks really nice and is biodegradable! I actually found that hemp chording at Walmart, without plastic packaging!
I like to use kraft paper for wrapping because this paper is 100% recyclable, and there are many creative ways to dress up plain brown paper packages.
Did you know that a large majority of traditional gift wrap is not recyclable? If your paper has a metallic coating, glitter, or other texture to it, you can’t recycle it at your local recycling facility. That’s why choosing simple kraft paper is a great sustainable wrapping paper option.
I purchased a large roll of kraft paper that I use for Tiny Yellow Bungalow shop orders and gift wrapping, but you could just as easily use a brown paper bag from the grocery store turned inside out for wrapping.
Tape Free for Eco Gift Wrapping
This option blew my mind a little when I tested it out for this blog post. But yes, it actually works! You can wrap a gift using paper and zero tape at all. This is another one you’ll want to hop over on Youtube to learn. I had to watch the videos a few times before I could get it just right, but it worked! It kind of reminded me of origami folds I used to do when I was younger but on a larger scale!
DIY Decorating on Recyclable Paper
I like to wrap packages in brown kraft paper and tied with string, but if you find that a little boring, you can dress up your paper with DIY decorations and homemade gift tags. Sebastian carved a Christmas tree stamp out of a potato for me to use on our brown paper. It’s super cute!
You could also use a toilet paper roll or a fork from your kitchen to make a cool pattern on your paper. I’m sure there are other household items you could use to paint interesting textures on your gift wrap paper. I like to idea of even flicking some white paint on to the paper to look like snow. The best part about this option is you can really use whatever creative tools around the house you can find!
I also tried dehydrating orange slices for the first time this year, and I love the look of it on my holiday gifts – super simple yet elegant. It would be so pretty to use dried orange slices for a garland on the fireplace mantel as well.
Using things in nature to decorate holiday gifts is always so beautiful. For example, collecting twigs, cinnamon sticks, Christmas tree clippings, small pine cones, or leaves and tying them to your packages. So gorgeous!
You could even wrap your gifts in old newspapers or old magazines. This paper can be recycled after the gifts are opened.
Zero Waste Reusable Cloth Bags
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Another really cool zero waste gift wrapping option is reusable gift bags made of cloth. I learned about this idea from my aunt. She sewed some beautiful reusable cloth Christmas gift bags years ago that she continues to use every year for her family’s gifts.
Each of her family members has their own print and their set of reusable bags is used each year. They are endlessly reusable and so cute! There are tutorials for sewing these types of tote bags on Pinterest or you can buy a set online too. I saw these cute ones on Amazon. Reusable gift wrap is seriously such a clever idea!
Not Using Gift Wrap At All
This option might not fly at everyone’s house but have you thought about not only skipping traditional wrapping paper but skipping wrapping gifts entirely? How about simply sharing gifts with family unwrapped? I’d say that’s as waste free as you can get when it comes to eco-friendly gift wrapping!
You can find more sustainable gift wrap ideas here!
Fortunately, there are quite a few different sustainable ways to wrap gifts. You can absolutely enjoy the holiday season while also reducing your environmental impact. How are you wrapping your gifts this year? I’d love to hear in the comments section!