Waste-Free Solutions to Gift Wrapping

5 years ago

'Tis the season of shopping, eating, drinking, wrapping and decorating, followed by more eating, more shopping, more drinking and some unwrapping. (This will be followed by resolutions, returns and extreme dieting, but hey, that's not until January.)

Unfortunately, this is also the season of extreme waste - both food and materials. Nobody wants to be a wet green blanket during the holidays but one area ripe for improvement is gift wrapping which generates approximately 300,000 extra tons of garbage every December. Surely, there are less wasteful ways to gift that can still invoke a holiday spirit.

Image: mary.rotman via Flickr


Think about it, gift wrapping is like buying spendy lingerie for your wedding night - pretty, but honestly, how long will it stay on? When trying to cut down on waste (paper, glue, tape), consider that BlogHer knows more than a few sharp ladies who have already worked out numerous alternatives to traditional rolls of brand new printed paper. My holiday gift to any one smart enough to stop by the Green section is a round-up of posts and links that address this excessive tissue issue. You're welcome!

Lynn Colwell of Celebrate Green!

How I wrap-no paper, no scissors, no tape, no buying

"I’ve wrapped this gift for someone in the family in a scarf left to me by an aunt. Not only is it a 'gift within a gift,' but it’s one that 'puts meaning in the greening.'"

Jen Eyers-McLaughlin of Jen and Joey Go Green 

I am ruining Christmas (so someone says)

"We are making our own wrapping paper using packaging paper that I have been saving from random packages we have received. Originally I was going to paint with him but I didn't have time to research some natural paint recipes (without paying the price for natural paint). Oh well...next year. This year we coloured with crayons."

Anna Hackman of GreenTalk

Greener Holiday Greeting Cards, Bows, Etc. Trimmings without the Trash

"With packages comes bows and ribbons. Consider the following greener options: Although it might be too late for this year, consider saving ribbons from all the other gifts you receive during the year. Then you have a whole pile of used ribbons. Use recycled content ribbon. You can purchase a variety of eco-friendly ribbon here."

Karen Hanrahan of Best Of Mother Earth 

Holiday Simple

"Buy local art or handmade items…find a useful 'vessel' to wrap it in – this vintage tin, cost $1. Add edible embellishment as packaging filler, bought in bulk – no packaging – I brought my own jar – be sure everything is clean. The entire gift is useful, fun, holiday-ish. Reusable!!"

Amity Hook-Sopko of Green Gifts Guide

Wrap It Green

"Furoshiki is an age-old tradition in Japan. It’s the art of wrapping a gift in a beautiful fabric, scarf, or bandana which can be used again & again. Because it looks sophisticated, furoshiki can seem complicated, but it’s really not difficult to do. Our favorite fabric wrapping expert and author of Wrapagami, Jennifer Playford, shows us just how simple it can be in the tutorial video below…." 

Leona McEachern of My Healthy Green Family

It’s a wrap! Furoshiki, eco-friendly wrapping

"50% off Christmas fabrics! Hit the fabric stores! They won’t be crowded like the malls 2 days before Christmas. You’ll find good deals on Christmas fabric that you can reuse for many years later. Just make sure you ask for the wrapping back after the gift is opened."

Stephanie Moram at Good Girl Gone Green

The Carbon Sleigh Track- 6 Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas

"How about wrapping up your gifts in items that can be used after the unveiling of the gift like napkins, facecloths, dishtowels, scarves, socks or even mittens. Don’t you think a nice bottle of wine stuffed in a sock would be an interesting conversation starter? You can call it the 'wine sock'."

Charise Rohm Nulsen of I Thought I Knew Mama

DIY Wrapping Paper Tutorial

"What You Need: Recycled Paper Grocery Sack or Brown Craft Paper Paint, Markers, or Ink Paint Brushes, Stencils, or Stamps Sparkles & Glue?! (Only for the most brave moms among us!) Many of these you will already have on hand making this a very affordable Christmas craft, and you won’t have to spend money on wrapping paper. If you don’t have any paper grocery bags, a roll of craft paper can be purchased for under 2 dollars. You can cut out your own stencils using recycled cardboard and an online printable template. You can even make your own stamps out of sliced apples or potatoes."

Lisa Sharp of Retro Housewife Goes Green

Greener Holiday Gift Wrapping

"Snail’s Pace has beautiful gift bags, paper ribbons, tags and wrapping that is made from recycled materials and soy inks using renewable energy. The products are made at the Saint Meinrad Archabbey the on-site printing facility, Abbey Press. Saint Meinrad is home to about 100 men who have dedicate their lives to prayer and work. They believe in serving the greater good and caring for God’s creation."

Beth Terry of My Plastic-free Life 

Wrapping presents without tape or glue

"Why, you may ask, am I making a big deal out of something as petty as a little bit of tape? Well, I guess it’s not a huge deal when you look at the mountains of plastic in this world. But why use something if you don’t have to? And not putting tape or glue on the paper leaves it in better shape to be reused by the recipient."

Sarah Pantaleo White of Mindfully Frugal Mom

Make it Yourself: Reusable Gift Bags

"First, you need a square or rectangle of fabric. Fold it over so that it’s double thickness. I like to make a variety of sizes to fit a variety of different gifts. Notice, mine isn’t even very square. I just either cut it straighter or sew the seams straighter."

Big thanks to all these clever bloggers who magically create 'extra' time in their lives to investigate and share numerous eco-solutions throughout the year - we're grateful all year long.

If you've got waste-free gift wrapping solutions, links and/or posts to add to this list, please share in the comments section.

Happy Wrapping!

~Heather Clisby

BlogHer Section Editor, LIFE & GREEN; Proprietor, ClizBiz and Second Chance Ranch


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