This holiday season, consider giving the gift of sustainability. According to the EPA, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste can increase by more than 25 percent. And between food waste, ribbons and bows, packaging, and shopping bags, this can mean a 1 million ton increase in landfills. Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice the excitement of removing the wrappings for a gift’s big reveal. Instead, change things up this year with these green wrap ideas. Keep in mind that if you don’t have any of the materials listed below, you can always pick some up at your local Salvation Army or Goodwill to reuse and support a good cause.
1. Fun With Fabrics
Scraps of old fabric that you have around the house can make for great, colorful gift wrap that you can reuse year after year.
2. Furoshiki Fun!
Practice the art of Furoshiki, a Japanese method of fabric wrapping that allows you to present gifts in a thoughtful, beautiful, and eco-friendly manner. Follow this link for a step-by-step tutorial on Furoshiki from 1 Million Women (and watch their video below).
3. Reuse, Recycle, Repeat
As the holidays approach, start collecting newspapers, magazines, and even old maps to use as wrapping paper — then be sure to recycle them when you’re done.
4. Dress Up a Jar
Peel the label off an empty jar, run it through the dishwasher, and place a small gift inside. If you’re so inclined, you can get creative and decorate the outside of the jar with paint or glue on beads or glass or other materials. After your gift is opened, the jar can be reused as a flower vase or candle holder. For countless decorating ideas, check out It All Started With Paint.
5. Pot a Present
It might be winter, but a pretty flower pot makes a great gift vessel, and then you can put it to its intended use this spring.
6. Look to the Kitchen
Who would ever think to reuse a chip bag for gift wrap? Not many people, so I’m throwing the idea out there. Cut an empty chip bag, wash it, dry it, then use the shiny side as silver wrapping. It will look just like store-bought foil paper. If you want to really be quirky with it, you could use the label side. Find directions from Drawings Under the Table.
7. The Reusable Shopping Bag
Not only can you go shopping with your reusable bags, but these are also a great way to wrap your presents because you know the bag can be used again and again. Plus, if you’re like me, you can’t have too many reusable bags stashed in your car, mudroom, and purse since they’re so easy to forget on your way to the store!
8. Tie It All Together
Take regular ribbon to the next level by tying together your gift with natural fiber yarn. Read more about this and other zero waste gift wrapping at Litterless.
9. Brown and Branchy
Reuse a plain brown paper bag and embellish it with a branch or pine sprig.
If these ideas are a little too DIY for you, you can STILL go greener with your store-bought, traditional wrapping paper. Here are some eco-friendly wrapping materials to try.
This wrapping paper is 100 percent recyclable and 100 percent plantable. You can plant this pre-seeded paper and actually grow flowers from it.
11. Regift the Wrap
This wrapping paper can be reused up to 50 times — no tape, no cut, no wrinkle, no tear.
More from Make It Better:
- The Better Gift Guide
- How to Conserve Water in Your Home
- Holiday Fashion: 12 Party Pieces From the Best Ethical, Sustainable Brands
Alexis Miller recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she earned a degree in Journalism, Advertising & Public Relations, and Media Studies. In her free time, she does Pilates, floral arrangements, and some freelance event planning. As an alumna member of Alpha Omicron Pi, Alexis is an enthusiastic fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation.