Eco-friendly Sustainable Living

How to Have a Sustainable Christmas: Gift Wrapping

Having a sustainable Christmas isn’t just about what you buy and where you purchase it from. It’s also about how you wrap it. And gift wrapping is a whole issue in itself when it comes to sustainability. It’s said that each Christmas Brits throw away over 226 thousand miles of wrapping paper. Which is enough to stretch to the moon. So here are a few gift wrapping options to choose in order to have a sustainable Christmas.

Eco-Friendly Wrapping Paper

The sad truth is gift wrapping isn’t the most sustainable practice. As well as the miles of wrapping paper that are thrown away, there is also a staggering 125,000 tons of plastic wrapping accumulated over the festive period too. But you can do your bit by purchasing eco-friendly wrapping paper, which can be recycled or in some cases, composted. For the past few years, I have been using recyclable brown paper to wrap my Christmas presents. Choosing to decorate with string and foraged holly and offcuts from our Christmas tree.

Stockings, Sacks and Boxes

A great way to completely reduce your waste this Christmas is by popping presents in stockings, sacks or boxes. There are some beautiful stockings out there, in all sorts of designs and sizes. Try sourcing yours from a small business or a local craft seller. Or if you’re feeling brave, why not make your own? However, if you’re someone who likes to put gifts under the tree, then hessian sacks may be a better option for you. Like stockings, you can buy these in a variety of sizes. Many sellers on Etsy can also personalise the item, with the addition of a ribbon, an illustration or your loved one’s name. I love the idea of creating hampers and gift boxes for those that I love. And buy gifting a wooden crate, wicker basket or decorative box, you’re giving them something they can use all year round too.

Recyclable Sticky Tape

Sticky tape is one of those household items many of us don’t think twice about using. It’s just always there in a craft box or the shit drawer that every home has. But it’s not the most sustainable item to use as it can’t be recycled. If you have sellotape at home and want to use it for present wrapping, just be sure to remove it from any wrapping paper, before you put it in the recycling bin. Otherwise, it’ll hinder the recycling process. For those looking for a solution, you’ll be thrilled to know that you can purchase eco-friendly sticky tapes. I love the tapes on offer at Naturally Wrapt, as they come in lovely colours and patterns and they’re not too pricey. Sustainable options for sticky tape include those that can be dissolved in water, recyclable tape and also biodegradable sticky tape too.

Ditch The Glitter

As I mentioned in my How to Have a Sustainable Christmas: Cards post, ditching glitter is one of the best eco-friendly swaps to make this Christmas. So any wrapping paper, ribbons, string and gift tags that you use containing glitter, can’t be recycled. If you choose to buy these items, why not try to go plastic-free and avoid the glitter. Or at least look for an eco-friendly glitter alternative. Supermarkets such as Waitrose, Co-op and Morrisons have removed glitter from their Christmas ranged entirely this year, so they may be a good place to start. Or why not head online and discover some of the gorgeous hand-painted Christmas wrapping paper that’s out there.

Reuse Items From Your Home

Sustainable gift wrapping shouldn’t mean spending a fortune at the shops. It’s all about reducing, reusing and recycling. Just take a few minutes to look around your home. I bet you have tonnes of items that can be used for wrapping presents. I’ve got a selection of ribbons saved from gift boxes for Christmas past. Tissue paper from other deliveries has been stored to use it as hamper lining and to wrap more delicate items. Even old Christmas cards and wrapping paper can be repurposed to make gift tags. And if you want to decorate the brown wrapping paper you bought, why not use apples, artichokes or celery to make natural stamps.

Try Fabric Wrapping

If you’re looking to eradicate paper entirely from your Christmas wrapping, why not give fabric wrapping ago? The traditional Japanese art of wrapping presents in the fabric is called Furoshiki. I’ve seen that some high street shops offering to wrap gifts in fabric. Lush has a beautiful selection of Knot Wraps, made from recycled bottles or cotton. It’s a green way to wrap and display your gifts and helps reduce the amount of waste you generate. Tea towels, scarfs and hankies all work brilliantly, not only as wrapping material but for a gift as well.

Hopefully, this guide to sustainable gift wrapping will inspire you to change your wrapping habits. If you liked this blog be sure to check out some of my other sustainable living posts. Plus keep a lookout for the next in series, Christmas decorations!

Until next time.



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