Christmas Wrap Eco-Style

Furoshiki Wrapped Presents

This Christmas there is a new enemy in town; swaths of single-use wrapping paper. Why? Sure isn’t it recyclable? If you’ve read my post ‘Why Recycling isn’t the Answer‘, you’ll understand that recycling typically leaves us with an energy / resources deficit and isn’t a silver bullet to our waste problem. Plus a lot of wrapping paper on the market now isn’t even recyclable!

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Wrap your gifts in reusable Fabric

In recent years a popular solution to single-use wrapping paper is Furoshiki, a Japanese tradition of using fabric to wrap gifts.  It’s sustainability comes from the fact that you can reuse the fabric to wrap presents in the future so if you don’t think the recipient is going to do this then give it a miss. If you click on the image above you’ll be brought to a simple tutorial on how to do Furoshiki or you can simple search Youtube for Furoshiki video tutorials.

Reuse Gift Bags

If you think your family would balk at a fabric wrapped gift you could do what my family have been doing for years; reusing gift bags. We simply wrap the gift in a bit of tissue paper and pop it in a gift bag. As soon as the item is unveiled we whisk away the aforementioned tissue paper and gift bag for reuse next year.  I think some of my gift bags are over a decade old at this stage! It’s a great way to wrap difficult shaped gifts too and you can have all your wrapping done in a matter of minutes.

Handmade Gift Pouch & Box

Ventuno Paper Pouch

Now I know I’ve just condemned the notion of single-use paper but I’m a realist and know that at least some of us will be reaching for it, at least some of the time. Add to that the fact that I’m a total paper addict and you’ll appreciate why I couldn’t write a post about gift wrapping without including some impressive but do-able paper wrapping ideas like this simple paper pouch by Ventuno, which if sealed with paper tape or washi tape would be completely plastic free.

Pillow Boxes

Or how about this simple pillow box, decorated with compostable washi tape and paper bakers twine.

Cutest Ideas for Brown Wrapping Paper

Which leads me nicely onto my next theme; brown wrapping paper. Although it’s still a single-use, brown paper doesn’t use the nasty dyes involved in printing patterned wrapping paper and so is a slightly more sustainable wrapping option. I also love it’s humble aesthetic and how it makes a great backdrop for all manner of embellishments. I’m always looking for quick, easy, inexpensive ideas and here are some of my favourites. (I’ve linked the image to the original poster where possible so click on it if you want a tutorial)

Teddy Bear Gift Wrap
Reindeer Gift Wrap
Brown Paper Gift Wrap with discs
Brown Paper Gift Wrap with Drawing
Brown Paper Gift Wrap with Buttons
brown paper wrapping with white pencil

Sustainable Gift Cards

Finally there is the issue of gift cards. I make mine using old Christmas cards. Just trace the outline of a Christmas themed cookie cutter onto the back of an old Christmas card and then cut out, add (if you want) some salvaged twine or string to voila! It’s way easier than trying to cut accurate rectangles and it’s more fun.

Cookie Cutter Gift Cards


PS – For other Christmas ideas search ‘Christmas’ at the bottom of this webpage and don’t forget to like my new Living Lightly in Ireland Facebook Page or follow me on Instagram 

Published by Elaine Butler

I am a circular design consultant helping manfacturers prepare for the circular economy

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