To reduce your environmental footprint, use these 10 eco-friendly ways to wrap gifts to avoid wasted paper and gift wrap.

A feature image for a blog post about eco-friendly ways to wrap presents.

These are excellent ideas for any time of the year, but make a bigger impact at Christmas when there is an abundance of gift-giving.

And keep in mind, avoiding the waste of store-bought gift wrap doesn’t have to mean your presents don’t look nice and have a thoughtful presentation. Eco-friendly gift wrapping can be elegant and attractive, too.

Just as people move away from sending out Christmas cards, letting go of the gift wrap habit will help to reduce trash and waste.

1. Reusable Fabric to Wrap a Gift

One trick is to wrap a gift with reusable fabric. But you don’t necessarily have to buy the fabric. You may have old clothes or linens with a nice pattern around the house that will do the trick.

If you do buy fabric to use, it can be in the form of an attractive tea towel, a bathroom towel, lace doilies, or a pretty scarf. It’s possible to use a very elegant fabric to dress up your present. It doesn’t have to look rustic or rough.

Another place to source material for cheaper is the local secondhand store. You’ll likely find nice fabric for much less cost than buying new items.

2. Put the Gift in a Basket, Bottle, or Tin

Baskets, bottles, and tins make excellent packaging for a gift. You can add some decoration to make it look cheerful and festive. Baskets come in a variety of decorative styles. It doesn’t have to look plain like something you’d carry your garden vegetables in.

These are also good things to source at a used store rather than buying them new at a greater cost. You never know what cool receptacles you’ll find in the used store to serve the purpose. Perhaps even something vintage.

3. Source Eco-Friendly Manufacturers

If you do decide to use ready-made gift wrap, try to source manufacturers who follow good environmental practices. Be on the lookout for companies that engage in greenwashing to falsely represent their products as more “green” than they actually are.

There are companies out there who create plantable paper products that can be used in your garden after you finish with them. The paper has seeds embedded and is biodegradable. One such Canadian company is Botanical Paperworks.

4. Save Boxes and Bags for Wrapping

Often when you are given gifts or you purchase items, you’ll have a cute bag or box left over afterward. There’s no need to throw them away, especially if you have somewhere to store them.

If you have space, you can save a collection of these to reuse when you’re looking for a wrapping idea to give a present to someone else.

5. Reusable Gift Bags are Eco-Friendly

As with the tip above, you can reuse gift bags many times, especially if you’re giving gifts within the same group of people consistently.

You can even swap or share the reusable gift bags with friends, family, and neighbors to cut down on having to buy new bags or wrapping paper.

6. Pages from Old Books for Wrapping

A fun way to create wrapping paper is to use pages from old books that you intend to get rid of. Some people even use music sheets or newspapers to achieve the same purpose.

To decorate the gifts, you can also cut images from old magazines and use them to brighten up the presentation. Kids really enjoy decorating gifts in this way.

This is a nice way to add a personalized message to go along with the gift. You can cut and paste from several pages to create something individual.

7. Decorate Recyclable Brown Paper

A common and fun family activity is to use recyclable brown paper to decorate gifts. Kids love to create their own decorations for the packages by drawing and coloring images directly onto the paper.

Brown kraft paper is available in convenient roles and you can easily keep one on hand for when it’s gift-giving time. This is a nice activity for giving gifts to parents, grandparents, or teachers.

8. Put Gifts in Reusable Produce Bags

You wouldn’t normally think of reusable produce bags as a form of gift wrap, but they are actually an excellent idea. And, they generally come in a variety of sizes. Reusable bags from upscale shops are often quite elegant and make fancy wrapping.

When you give a gift wrapped in something reusable, you’re really giving two gifts. The person can make use of the produce bag when they shop. It’s another win for the environment.

9. Use a Decorative Reusable Shopping Bag

Just as with reusable produce bags, reusable shopping bags that have a nice design are also a great way to present a gift.

These bags also come in larger sizes which is nice when you have a bigger present to consider. Again, it’s like giving two gifts and extra wins for the environment.

10. Hide Unwrapped Gifts for a Christmas Scavenger Hunt

On Treehugger.com, we found a really cool idea for giving multiple unwrapped gifts, such as during the Christmas holidays.

They suggested hiding all the unwrapped gifts around the house and doing a Christmas scavenger hunt. This is an excellent family activity for added fun on the big day. You can also adapt it for other holidays and occasions.

As you can see, it’s not difficult to go without using store-bought wrapping paper to present gifts in a nice way. Use the 10 ideas above for eco-friendly gift-wrapping and tweak them to suit your needs.

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