2019 has seen the world begin to make progress toward a more sustainable way of living. From reducing our use of plastic straws in bars and restaurants to shopping with companies that are more ethical and which give back, we’re starting to recognise that we all need to do our bit for the environment.
Not only has our UK head office planted eight brand new trees instead of sending Christmas cards this year in a bid to go green, but we also wanted to share with you some ideas for more environmentally friendly gift wrapping this holiday season (and beyond!) so that we’re all producing less waste. Here are our top six tips!
Recycled and recyclable paper
Most of us love regular wrapping paper due to how beautiful it can look and how effortless it is, but sadly it usually contains plastic, foil, sparkles and texture that make it impossible to recycle, leaving the recipient with no choice but to bin it all. If you want to go eco this season but don’t want to stray too far away from the familiar, there are plenty of beautiful wrapping papers which are made from recycled and recyclable paper, meaning that your recipient can stick it in the recycling after Christmas morning.
The only trouble here is that this kind of paper can often be more expensive, which is why we love the next option…
Brown packing paper
You know the kind that’s super cheap and which you use to wrap up parcels? It doesn’t have to be boring! In fact, when decorated, brown packing paper has a vintage and chic look to it that’ll be the envy of everybody.
Not only is brown packing paper cheap, it presents a blank canvas. Add your own personalised stamps to jazz it up and personalise it, or keep it simple with string, lace or a ribbon and a little sprig of holly. Perfection!
Newspaper, maps and other scraps
Once you’ve finished reading the newspaper, what do you do with it? If the answer is ‘put it in the bin’ – STOP RIGHT THERE! That’s free gift wrap, don’t you know? Find sections of the newspaper featuring the more light-hearted stories and wrap your gifts up in that, finishing off the look with a red ribbon for a pop of colour.
Maps are also great for this (hands up if you still have an old atlas lying around that you don’t use now you’ve got Google Maps on your smart phone?). This will look unusual and make your gift stand out under the Christmas tree. And why stop there? You probably have plenty of scraps of paper lying about the house just waiting to be jazzed up and repurposed.
Reusable gift bags
If you have an oddly shaped gift that you’d normally chuck into a gift bag, consider a reusable gift bag. Just like wrapping paper, normal gift bags contain plastics, foils and glitters which makes them impossible to recycle and if you write on the gift tag the recipient probably won’t re-gift it.
A fabric reusable gift bag can be repurposed in numerous ways - you could either ask the recipient to return it to you, or you can encourage them to use it themselves the next time they’re gifting. Depending on the size they may also find it useful just for storing items throughout the year.
Another great way to dress up gifts that are difficult to wrap is to put them in some kind of reusable container. A clay flowerpot with a ribbon around it will definitely intrigue your recipient and they will be able to use it as an actual flowerpot once they’ve opened their gift.
You could also use a metal tin, a hamper basket or a large mason jar – or anything really, the possibilities are endless! – to house your gift, give it a personal touch and ensure it’s useful to the recipient even after they’ve opened up to see what’s inside.
Scarves and blankets
Finally, our ultimate tip is to make the wrapping a gift in itself. Use a scarf or a blanket to wrap your gift, giving your recipient two presents in one – and one they’ll be sure to use in the cold months that follow December!
If you’ve never wrapped a gift without using tape before, it may sound a little daunting, but fear not! Try a YouTube search for ‘Furoshiki’, the Japanese art of wrapping with cloth, and follow some of the brilliant tutorials online to make it a gift almost too beautiful to open!
Do you have any other eco-friendly wrapping tips you’d like to share with us? Drop them in the comments below!