The tradition of gift wrapping, while beautiful for a moment, leaves behind a long-lasting footprint on our planet. With total annual sale of gift wraps now reaching an estimated US$2.6 billion in the global retail industry, it is time we start replacing this age-old custom with more sustainable alternatives. Here are 10 ideas that will prove that eco-friendly alternatives to wrapping presents are just as stylish (if not more) than the planet-unfriendly options out there.
Draw Your Ribbons
Most ribbons end up being thrown in the bin after being opened. You can avoid this by choosing the drawn on version – just scribble a fun bow, ribbon or gift tag design.
Hunt For Natural Decorations
Trimmings on presents, such as name tags and glittery stick-ons, tend to be wasteful and expensive. There’s no need to generate more clutter or spend so much money when we can simply take a day trip outside to collect some fallen branches, pine cones and dried garden herbs.
Make Your Own Edible Trimmings
Cut up some orange slices, dry them, and pair them with cinnamon sticks to decorate presents – it’s super easy and smells super festive.
Gingerbread Name Tags
Truly the most zero-waste (and yummiest!) option: bake some gingerbread cookies and pipe on names with icing before you string them on each present.
Use Your Scraps
Surely all of us have loads of little scraps lying around from old gift wrap, the final bits of a roll of paper, or tissue paper from fancy present boxes you’ve received in the past. Gather all of these, and layer them which creates a gorgeous half-done yet chic design.
Reuse Everyday Embellishments
You might have collected buttons, fancy ribbons and name cards over the years – especially if you’ve done some luxury shopping purchases recently. If you still have these lying behind, reuse them.
Fabric Gift Pouches
Up for a bit of light sewing? Drawstring pouches are incredibly easy to make, and you can use up scrap fabrics at home. Even better, your gift recipient can reuse them over and over again in the future.
Furoshiki is a Japanese wrapping tradition that uses fabric cloths, which are meant to be reused. While you can purchase special Furoshiki wrapping cloths new, you can also use tea towels you already have at home or other rectangular scrap fabrics.
Upcycle Old Newspapers, Books & Magazines
Ditch the glittery, non-recyclable gift wrap for a version you probably already have at home – newspapers, magazines or even piano scores. The monochrome print looks great paired with some natural twine and pinecones.
Recycled Paper Gift Wrap
If you really have to use gift wrap and aren’t too keen on these upcycled and D-I-Y alternatives, there are some companies like Green Field Paper Company and Ecosaurus that have developed wrapping paper using only post-consumer recycled waste and toxin-free treatment processes.
Lead image courtesy of Homes To Love NZ.