If you’re like me, then you love wrapping a gift and making it look pretty. It’s like presenting a special plate of food – you need a garnish. But if you are also like me, you have had to start looking for alternative gift wrapping sources to minimize the impact on the planet. This isn’t just for Earth Hour, Earth Day, or Earth Month. It’s for always.
You see, the traditional glossy, shiny wrapping material is generally NOT recyclable or compostable. And the glittery and metallic material contains plastics that can quickly have a serious ecological impact on our aquatic ecosystems.
They all generally end up in landfills and/or in waterways making the need for more eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas necessary for all of our sake. This includes finding alternatives for wrapping paper and gift bags, bows, ribbons, gift tags, cards, treated tissue paper, cellophane wrap, and tape.
Tip: Substitute traditional non-recyclable tape with eco-friendly Kraft paper tape or Washi tape that is 100% recyclable and biodegradable.
Now, these Eco-Friendly Gift wrapping Ideas on this list include green options that can be bought but the better options involve items that you create from things found around your home. It’s far better to use what you have. Just doing that is better for the planet.
Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas to Help Save the Planet
1. Furoshiki (fabric)
I love the idea of the Japanese tradition of furoshiki fabric wraps. I say the idea because traditionally silk or cotton were used. Now they sell furoshiki wraps available in synthetic materials like rayon, nylon, satin, or polyester which is amazing. Like, Wrappr sells reusable, zero-waste furoshiki gift wraps that are gorgeous and so easy to use and they come in a variety of sizes. They are also machine-washable and can be repurposed as a scarf, basket liner, or table covering. Check out their library of tutorials on how to re/use your Wrappr to wrap gifts.
Ideally, you can find a square of material around your house that you can use. You can repurpose an old t-shirt, scarf, pillowcase, or bedsheet. As long as it is clean, there is no reason why you can’t use it. The whole point of sustainability is reusing what we have. Avoid trashing items and buying new ones when you have a replacement.
How to wrap a gift in furoshiki
2. Kraft Paper
While most traditional gift wrap is not recyclable, Kraft paper is. Plus, it is biodegradable. You can use natural accents to decorate the gift like pine sprigs, acorns, dried eucalyptus or oranges, or even cinnamon sticks tied with twine. Just remember to keep it tape-free to keep it eco-friendly. You can purchase Kraft paper tape or washi tape that is 100% recyclable and biodegradable.
3. Newspaper Gift Wrap
Newspaper makes an excellent gift wrap option. There are fewer newspapers around with most publications going digital (YAY). Having said that, you can still find copies of newspapers printed daily around your home or apartment building, or office. You can also ask for old newspapers from friends or local shops. Try to look for sections with puzzles the gift recipient can do or with articles or horoscopes that might be of interest to them. The comics section is great for kid’s gifts.
4. Reusable Shopping Bags
A reusable shopping bag is the ultimate eco-friendly gift wrap. Again, most reusable gift bags are made of the same shiny paper that gift wrap is made of just with a thicker base so we want to avoid them. Opt for a fabric shopping bag instead. Keep track of all the shopping bags you collect through the year from various shops, and events and use them to wrap gifts. Don’t worry if the brand on the bag doesn’t match the gift. Tell the story of when you got the bag to the gift recipient so they get a gift and a little story 😊
If you can sew, you can create gift bags out of fabric you have around the house. Look for things like old sweaters, scarves, pillowcases, t-shirts, and sheets. Again, as long as they are clean, they can be repurposed.
5. Gift Boxes
Some gifts – like clothes – are just easier to wrap in a box (if you are not using a reusable gift bag). So, keep all those “good” boxes you receive your deliveries in throughout the year. By “good” box, I mean the perfect size, in good condition and relatively clean. Remove all labels and they will be ready to be freshened up with some natural decorations.
6. Glass Jars
Just as you can keep track of the boxes you receive through the year, the same goes for the glass jars you accumulate. Glass jars can be easily decorated with pine sprigs, dried eucalyptus leaves, cinnamon sticks, candy, candy canes, or pieces of material.
Glass jars are good for smaller gifts like jewelry, or a scarf, but they are perfect for filling with sweet treats or homemade goodies like peanut brittle, jam, chocolate bark, homemade candied nuts, or homemade hot chocolate mix.
You can use any of these items to decorate your gifts and make them pop rather than using ribbons or bows.
- Twine (multipurpose)
- Go through your costume jewelry or old belts and look for pieces you don’t wear anymore and use them to adorn your gifts. Things like earrings, brooches, bracelets, necklaces, can all be used to spruce up a gift wrapped in plain fabric.
- If you don’t have any, check out your local resale or vintage shop for some interesting (and cheap) finds.
- Go outside and pick up some small sticks, pine sprigs, and other natural greenery.
- Old holiday ornaments
- Tea or kitchen towels
- Old Sports cards
- Old maps and calendars
- Dust bags from previous purse purchases
Once you get used to these eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas, they will become second nature. You’ll be saving all the materials you need throughout the year and encourage those around you to do the same.
If you care about the environment and the climate crisis we find ourselves in, then using alternative gift wrapping material is a no-brainer. If you already have traditional gift wrap, use what you have but replace them with these eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas.
This is an easy sacrifice to make that can have a large impact when done by the collective. Tell people you exchange gifts with you’d rather no wrapping if choosing a planet-friendly option is not possible for them.
How do you wrap your gifts? Will you be incorporating any of these eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas into your gift-giving? Do you have other ways to create sustainable gift wrapping? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments. We love learning more/new earth-friendly ideas.
A good planet is hard to find.