In Australia, we use approximately 8,000 tons of wrapping paper every year!
Much of the time, wrapping paper is coated with not-so-planet-loving synthetics like glitter and plastic, used just once before discarded, making it a sneaky single-use item that’s crept into our habits.
Let’s break it down and rethink it this Christmas with 8 eco-friendly gift-wrapping ideas here for you to play with.
The truth about wrapping paper
Wrapping paper seems to get sexier and sexier every year, with a battle of modern designs taking to the shop windows. Elegant, hipster, chic, au natural – whatever you think your recipient will love, it’s out there.
Unfortunately, so much of today’s wrapping paper isn’t eco-friendly.
We can get caught up in the design and overlook the fact that the pretty motifs and shiny sparkles are actually cheeky coatings, imprintings or pepperings of plastic.
Hopefully, these ‘pretty bits’ are at least on a base of recycled paper but there’s a lot of options available that aren’t: fresh from the tree, wrapped around your gift, then binned.
If all that weren’t bad enough, we’ve normalised the process of fusing our wrapping masterpieces together with plastic-based, atomic-strength sticky tape and adorning them with synthetic bows and ribbons. When we break those products apart, we get a host of plastics and an arsenal of chemicals.
That’s a hell of a lot of manufacturing and synthetics that have become totally normal in today’s gift-giving process for a short-lived surprise.
Are you thinking scrooge? Bear with me…
We can have our cake and eat it
Wrapping is a part of the gift-giving process; for the giver and the recipient.
The gift giver takes a conscious moment to choose the paper, to sit down and wrap the present, and to think about what they’re sharing. The recipient is greeted with a surprise and a moment of suspense before the reveal.
We don’t need to take away those conscious human moments that gift wrapping so happily creates us; we just need to do it differently.
HERE ARE 8 OF MY FAVOURITE ECO-FRIENDLY WAYS TO WRAP YOUR GIFTS
Image credit: Trendenser
Use old newspapers and magazines
Get the freebies through your post box? Save one.
Read the newspapers at your local café? Ask them if you can take yesterday’s away with you.
Read the latest issue of your fav magazine back to back? Recycle it.
You’ll create a vintage AF look using old newspapers and magazines as gift wrap. And if you want to get extra conscious, wrap your gifts with an article you know the recipient is going to love for double whammy gifting points.
Ditch the sticky tape
It’s not needed. Honestly. Let us show you how to wrap with paper and string only…
Get creative with fabric
The Japanese art of Furoshiki is an incredibly creative and impactful way to wrap your gifts, and it’s so versatile, fitting gifts of all shapes and sizes!
Use old t-shirts or fabrics that have done their time, or pop into a charity shop and rummage through their scarf collection.
Here’s 8 ways to wrap with fabric:
Image credit: https://www.abc.net.au
Find an old map
While you’re in the charity shop, keep an eye out for old maps. They can live their next lives in all sorts of fabulous forms. Wrapping paper is one of them.
Asking the oldies if they have any old maps that are out of date is another great recycling tactic. You’ll be surprised at how many pre-21st Century maps (that you’d have trouble getting A to B with) are lurking in the nooks of homes around the country.
Image credit: Etsy
Recycle paper bags
Keep any paper bags that make their way into your home, year-round. These make excellent recycled gift-wrapping options. Even mushroom bags (used as they are or turned inside out) can be made to look eco-chic with string and handmade tags.
Image credit: http://kristenlindsay.com
In fact, recycle anything that folds and looks half ‘wrapping paper’ ish
Received flowers? Keep the wrapping.
Something came in tissue paper? Don’t let it go.
Veggie box has a half decent wedge of paper at the bottom? Boom!
Received a gift yourself? Keep the paper.
You’ll be surprised at just how much wrapping paper fodder enters your life on a day-to-day basis when you start looking out for it. Keeping string, hessian, rubber bands and the like is also a must for the Reusable Wrapping Paper Box.
Image credit: Pinterest
Use cotton tote bags
If the recipient doesn’t have a good reusable tote in their life, this is an awesome way to add to their gift, while wrapping it in style.
If you’re going to dedicate yourself to eco-ninja gift wrapping, you might like to invest in some stamps and tools to reincarnate your wrapping paper with serious effect.
This is a simple and epically cool idea that anyone can achieve with paint or pen:
Image credit: Pinterest