Millions of gifts are exchanged around the world during the holiday season. People spend months shopping in advance, looking for the perfect present for their loved ones. During these festive times, it is hard to overlook the huge amount of waste generated. Alongside the obvious food and décor waste, overabundance of shipping cartons, boxes, and gift wrapping paper form a huge portion of the garbage. On average, 540,000 tonnes of wrapping paper is tossed into the trash after Christmas. Most of these wrapping papers cannot be recycled due to the glue, glitter, and foils used in the production process. Thus, these items end up in a landfill, adding an unnecessary burden on the planet.
Does this mean gift-giving is wrong? Gosh NO! Gifts are exciting. However, sparkly, decorative wrapping paper is unnecessary. We spend an ample amount of money and effort in wrapping gifts with fancy papers. These papers are torn apart in seconds for just a moment’s pleasure, and often little thought is given at the time to the harmful effect it has on our environment.
By being conscious about our choices and switching to green wrapping options, we can reduce unnecessary waste and save additional expenses. Sustainable wrapping options are available all around you. With just a little creativity and repurposing, you can change the way you give gifts. This Christmas, make your gifts more personalized, distinctive, and eco-friendly. Here are some sustainable alternatives to choose from:
Old Magazines, Comics and Books
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The graphics and colour schemes on magazine pages make it visually appealing and instantly lift the look of any gift. You can paste small pieces of magazine paper on a single page to form a colourful mosaic. Got a small box? Magazine pages are the perfect size to wrap your precious little finds. If you are not a big fan of magazines, try using the pages of an old book or picture book. You can customize your wrapped masterpiece to the receiver’s preferences. Page from comic books can be a playful substitute for gift papers. Wrap your loved one’s gift with their favourite comic hero or character for a fun spin on gift packing. For all the anime fans, Japanese manga pages will fascinate wow and amaze them.
Pic Courtesy: Reshot
Newspapers are an easy alternative for last-minute gift wrapping. For some people, this is how we grew up – our most precious gifts were given to us using the comics section of the newspaper. It was great for a laugh and it didn’t require any more heartfelt love than that. Everyone has a pile of newspapers lying around the house, and this is an effortless way to repurpose them. If you want a vibrant feel, you can pick the more colourful or dramatic pages. I prefer the elegant look that simple neutral pages have. For added quirkiness, go out of the box and wrap your gift with newspapers from different languages, sudoku or crossword puzzles. Make it fun and add a note that this gift has been wrapped using 100% recycled content for a laugh everyone can enjoy.
Mason jars and empty glass candle jars make a great package by itself. As they are made of glass, they can be easily recycled and reused, and they are sturdy, so you don’t have to worry about delicate items being mishandled and broken under the tree. If you have empty jars at home, soak them in warm water and dishwashing soap to get rid off the existing labels. The jars are multi-functional and can be used for gifting jewellery, small accessories, and even home-made desserts. You can make customized gift jars by filling them with your loved one’s favourite sweet treats, mini liqueurs bottles, or a set of cosmetics. Decorate the jars with handmade labels, ribbon or tags to add a personal touch.
Wrapping gifts in a fabric is nothing new. Furoshiki is an ancient Japanese gift-wrapping practice that utilizes colourful fabrics and knotting techniques to wrap gifts. Here are some easy Furoshiki techniques for beginners. New blankets, scarves or tea towels for simple alternatives to gift wrap. Just wrap the gift in the fabric of your choice and knot it with twine, ribbon or string. Reusable cloth string bags and pouches are an easy last-minute alternative to having to purchase gift bags. Fabrics are always available in fun prints, colours, and sizes to fit any size gifts. Use t-shirts or sweaters with the design facing upwards to grab the receivers’ attention.
Not only do they save gift wrapping time and effort, but it also looks attractive and well put thought out and can be re-utilized throughout the entire year. You can find simple baskets in any dollar store in your neighbourhood. If you are looking for a more personalized basket, can decorate it with beautiful accessories like pinecones, Christmas springs, paper roses or even ribbon. If you are someone who does not want to spend time decorating a basket, visit your local farmers’ markets or Christmas markets for some beautiful handcrafted baskets.
You can save paper bags from your shopping spree and repurpose them for gift wrapping. Did some online shopping? Use the excess protective packing paper that come inside packages for a neutral wrapping option. If you don’t have any at home, you can find brown paper rolls at any post office or your local office supply store. After all your gifts are open, simply recycle the paper as you do normal newspaper at. Check out brown and burlap gift wrapping ideas to take your gift wrapping to the next level.
Calendar pages are a great alternative for gift wrapping papers with each page displaying amazing pictures, meaningful quotes and jokes. Not only are they completely recyclable, but they also look glossy and attractive. Choose pages that have contrasting colour schemes with bold numbers and lively prints. Use bigger calendars for wrapping bigger items. Maps are my favourite paper options. Wrapping gifts with old maps can add that extra vintage touch and feel. It will get all the travel enthusiasts in your list excited.
Cotton yarns and jute twines are simple alternatives for ribbons and tapes. Once you find your preferred sustainable gift-wrapping alternative, dress up your wrapped gifts with festive favourites like pinecones, red berries, Christmas springs, and floral twigs. Dried fruit slices like orange, lemon slices add that rustic feels and fruity fragrance to your gift. Dried spices like cinnamon sticks can enhance your gift appearance instantly.
Now that you have some creative options to choose from, which one will you pick? Let us know in the comments section below. If you have any more awesome ideas to add to this list, feel free to share them below!
Happy Gift Wrapping!
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This July, it is more important than ever to follow the Plastic Free July challenge. The main aim of Plastic Free July is to minimize the use of disposable items, especially single-use plastic. While eliminating all the plastic from your home can be overwhelming, you can decide which items you want to swap initially.
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