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9 Sustainable Alternatives To Wrapping Paper 2023

Sustainable Alternatives To Wrapping Paper

Image Credit: Erica Marsland Huynh

Have you have ever felt slightly uncomfortable (or slightly sick) at the sight of a huge pile of discarded wrapping paper at Christmas or a Birthday, a shiny mountain of paper, used once, torn up and then stuffed into the rubbish bin?

Are you tired of having to wonder which wrapping paper can be recycled, and then discovering that much of it must go to landfill because it is not recyclable? Or perhaps you are just tired of filling your recycling bin to bursting with quantities of paper that is used for mere seconds as it is ripped away from the gift inside.

Perhaps you know that some wrapping paper cannot be recycled, but want to be sure to use eco-friendly wrapping paper when you next wrap presents.

None of us want to spoil the joy of Christmas, because the anticipation of unwrapping a present - especially a deliciously, beautifully wrapped gift - is part of that pleasure. And there are lots of ways that you can still enjoy that pleasure in a sustainable and eco-friendly way, by using recycled, recyclable and reuseable wrapping materials.

Sustainable Alternatives To Wrapping Paper 2023

You may be able to use items that you already have around your home, you may need to make a one-time-only investment in your Christmas or Birthday wrapping materials, but every one of these ideas will make your gift giving a little bit better for the planet.

How To Know If Wrapping Paper Can Be Recycled

Any shiny decorative wrapping paper probably contains plastic in some form; it may be in the form of glitter or shiny spots. If the back of the paper is reflective, it is 100% plastic.

One way to tell if your wrapping paper is known as the scrunch test - screw it up, and if it bounces back it is plastic and cannot be recycled. But of course this only works with wrap that is mostly plastic. As a rule of thumb, if it has glitter or any element of a reflective, metallic design it probably cannot be recycled.

Along with your paper, what about the way you put the parcel together? Regular sticky tape is also a single use plastic, however there are some plastic free types of sticky tape available. You can also use string or ribbon to tie up your parcel, and so we've also included some ideas for eco-friendly ways to fasten your parcel too.

  1. Eco- Wrapping Paper
  2. Recycled Christmas Wrapping Paper

    Image Credit: Amazon

    If you want that freshly-wrapped-in-new paper experience, there are many lovely eco wrapping papers available. We love this Recycled Christmas Wrapping Paper set from Walolo. Not only is made from recycled kraft paper, it is recyclable itself.

    This pack contains a mix of classic and more contemporary designs.

    You can also find some lovely recycled christmas wrap at Ethical Superstore, Re-wrapped and Wrapped by Alice

  3. Kraft Paper
  4. Sustainable Alternatives To Wrapping Paper

    Image Credit: Erica Marsland Huynh

    For that old fashioned, rustic parcel look, traditional brown kraft paper is both a brilliant and economical idea. You can get a huge roll for only a few pounds, such as this 30m x 30cm roll which is just £9.99 from Amazon.

    Use it plain or decorate it with water-based paints, draw Christmas designs on it (or get the kids to do it) or do some rubber stamping if kraft paper is a little plain for your taste.

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  5. Re-Use Wrapping Paper
  6. If you are the type who plans ahead (and has a little cupboard space) you can save all your wrapping paper from this year and re-use it next year.

    Avoiding sticky tape is good in this regard, as parcelling up your gifts with string, twine or ribbon allows you to unwrap your presents without ripping the paper apart, thus leaving larger sheets of paper for reuse (more on this later).

    If you want to neaten up plastic-free wrapping paper you can also give it a quick once over with a cool iron. A couple of caveats; do NOT try this with wrapping paper that contains any plastic, as you will make a terrible mess of your iron. Only use a cool iron, and turn off the steam or you will end up with a soggy mess....

  7. Fabric Gift Wrapping
  8. Fabric Gift Wrapping Furoshiki

    Image Credit: &Keep

    Furoshiki is the name that the Japanese give to the art of decoratively wrapping gifts and other items in fabric, and it is also the name given to the pieces of fabric used.

    The fabric is tied beautifully, meaning that there is no need for tape or string, and if tied loosely it will be simple for even quite young children to unwrap easily.

    You can buy specialised Christmas fabric such as this pretty fabric wrapping shown above from &Keep, or use any piece of fabric that you have. You can often find fabric cheaply at charity shops, or buy a garment in a fabric you like and salvage the material from it.

    For the authentic Japanese experience you can go to The Japanese Shop where the Furoshiki are works of art in themselves.

    Another idea is visit your local charity shop and buy up an armful of headscarves - they are often very affordably priced - which can be used in a similar way.

  9. Re-Use Gift Bags
  10. Paper gift bags

    Image Credit: freestocks

    If you find that you are given presents in a gift bag or a bottle bag, save that bag to regift - but don't forget to check that the gift tag hasn't been written on!

    With care these can last for years as they are often made from quite strong high quality paper or card.

  11. Fabric Gift Bags
  12. Reusable Produce Bags/Christmas Gift Bags

    Image Credit: Amazon

    Another idea is to give your gifts disguised in a reusable cotton bag. The bags, such as the pretty Christmas Tree Print Gift Bags 6-Piece Set from Amazon shown here. Once again the bags can be stashed away for next year and they also have the advantage that you can wash and iron them too! Use them for buying loose vegetables or storage for the rest of the year is you really like to get your money's worth.

  13. Newspaper & Magazines
  14. If your home has a stash of recyclable paper such as newspapers or magazines, you could use these for wrapping presents. Magazine pages often are pretty and colourful and colour sections in newspapers could yield a good supply of attractive papers too.

  15. Reusable Gift Boxes
  16. Festive Pals Christmas Gift Box

    Image Credit: Amazon

    Gift boxes have been around for a long time, but if you have the storage space you can save your gift boxes and bring them out every - they could even become a family tradition, rather like a Christmas Eve Box.

    This cute Festive Pals Christmas Gift Box is from Paperchase and is made from recycled eco-kraft material and is recyclable too. Perfect for gifts or storing your festive paper and decorations until next year!

  17. Little Touches Mean A Lot
  18. Christmas Twine

    Image Credit: Amazon

    Once you have your eco-friendly and sustainable wrapping chosen, there are always the finishing touches that make it special. After all, how are you going to fasten your gift?

    Ribbon will make your gift look festive and glamorous, and can be used over and over again. It can be bought at craft shops, haberdashers and many places online. Most modern ribbon is made from polyester, but you can find raffia ribbon, which is made from a type of palm leaves.

    String or Twine is made from plant fibres such as jute, wool or cotton and can be found everywhere from your local craft store, DIY shop or online at all sorts of places including and Amazon.

    Eco Paper Tape is the eco alternative to plastic sticky tape. Made from plant based material, Paper Christmas Tape is biodegradeable, and keeps your recyclable wrapping paper 100% recyclable. The long established sticky tape company Sellotape now make a Sellotape Zero Plastic Tape

    Gift Bows may be frivolous fun, but you can actually buy paper bows (regular ones are plastic) from Paperchase and Gift Wrap UK.

So now you can wrap all your Christmas gifts in an environmentally friendly, green way, and keep Christmas just that bit better for the environment.


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