Wrap It Green
You’ve selected the perfect eco-friendly gift, now it’s time to wrap it without creating a bunch of waste.
When it comes to most things in life, presentation is everything. Why is raspberry glaze drizzled so elegantly on top of the cheesecake? Because we enjoy food with our eyes just as much as with our taste buds.
If you have any doubt that presentation matters, consider this: Two gifts are in front of you. One is wrapped in the iconic robin’s egg blue Tiffany box, and the other is wrapped in plain paper… is there a contest at all?
Green gift giving takes it a step further. Not only do we want to give a gift our recipient will enjoy, we make the conscious decision not to create a bunch of waste.
Maybe the big garbage bag has become a staple at your birthday parties and holiday celebrations. Even if you put all that used paper in the recycle bin, it probably ends up in the landfill just like that bag. Because of the dyes, laminates, glitter, etc., most wrapping paper is tough to recycle.
An average roll of wrapping paper costs $4. We’re just not fans of throwing our money away. That’s why we’ve put together these options – to easily save you money, and keep the rest of that wrapping paper roll from gathering dust in the closet all year.
I had the privilege of working with the amazing producers of Abe’s Market on their “In the Know” series. We created a How To segment on Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping that’s inspiring lots of green gift giving ideas.
Here’s more info on the ideas covered in the video on eco-friendly gift wrapping…
Fabric Gift Bags
Fabric gift bags are the simplest solution I’ve found. Just drop the gift inside, pull the drawstring, and tie a bow.
For a great DIY project, you can make your own fabric gift bags with our step by step guide.
You’ll also find festive and fun gift bags at VZWraps. And if you’re looking to really (and we mean, really) dress up your gifts.. you have to check out our friend Nancy’s exquisite gift bags at The Beautiful Gift.
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.
Want more furoshiki options? You’ll find eight more tutorials on Jennifer’s site Furochic.
Recycle and Upcycle Gift Wrap Options
Other simple ways to Wrap it Green involve looking for ways to use things you already have.
- Kitchen style – Wrap your gift in a colorful kitchen towel and tie a bow around it. Oven mitts make a nice pocket to slip a gift inside. Aprons are fun, and they already have the strings to tie up the present! And kitchen canisters can hold small gifts.
- Mason Jars - Not only perfect for edible gifts, mason jars make fun presentation for soaps, art supplies, or other small gifts. Add a bit of fabric or recycled tissue paper, or don’t – and let the gift speak for itself.
- Bucket list – Place gifts inside a small galvanized gardening bucket. Don’t worry about tissue paper or plastic. Just tie a festive ribbon on the handle and let the gift speak for itself.
- Paper Revisited – Wrapping gifts in newspaper is very practical, but not always appropriate for a nice occasion. Try something simple, elegant and uniform like in the photo at the top of this post. Old travel maps or sheet music make a creative presentation. If you’ve moved, save the packing paper to wrap a collection of gifts and add simple ribbons for a utilitarian look.
- Don’t Toss the Box – December 26th isn’t known as Boxing Day for nothing. Put those leftover boxes to use all year long by wrapping in gift boxes, hat boxes, lunch boxes, tool boxes… you get the idea.
- Season-Themed Containers – Make your gifts stand out by placing them in an unexpected seasonal item: lanterns, ice skates, soup tureens, watering cans, or vintage bread boxes.
- Bring the Outdoors In – Adding a touch of nature makes your gift extra green. Bamboo or banana leaves cover a small gift. Or try a holly leaf, birch bark, or a bird feather to add a natural embellishment.
- Tags & Accessories – Save beautiful images from cards to use as a gift tag for the next gift you give. Punch a hole and tie a ribbon to dress up any present. Or try plantable gift tags. Made from paper embedded with seeds, your recipient can just plant the tag and watch it grow. Don’t forget the recycled trinket or ornament to add a splash of color to your gift.
If nothing else will do but a roll of wrapping paper, choose a sustainable option. Look for a recycled version that isn’t too glittery and laminated — this will help it’s chances of being recycled after the big day.
The paper shown here by Snail’s Pace is made from 100% post-consumer fiber, and manufactured with windpower. They’re also FSC Certified and carbon neutral.
It makes sense to purchase paper goods from a company with a history and reputation in the sustainable paper business, rather than grabbing the first cheap $2 roll at the discount store. Remember, we’re voting with our dollars ALL the time. Make those votes count by supporting the types of businesses you want to see flourish.