When it comes to gift giving, half the fun is watching your loved ones tear away the gift wrap to reveal the present within. But when you think about how wasteful gift wrap really is, that moment becomes much less heartwarming.
According to research, Americans spent US$12.7 billion in 2017 on gift wrap and gift bags, most of which likely ended up in landfill. Moreover, certain types of gift wrap are exceptionally bad for the planet, such as glossy or glittery types that leak microplastics into the environment.
And while you can get gift wrap that is FSC-certified – meaning that it comes from forests that are sustainably managed – some of the inks used on them can contain heavy metals and leech into the ground when thrown away. This ink is also what makes the paper unrecyclable since fibres from the paper cannot be extracted during recycling.
Thankfully, there are many sustainable alternatives to gift wrap, and you probably already have most them in your home! Here are some ways to wrap your gifts more sustainably:
Look for an interesting article or even an unsolved crossword puzzle for cool wrapping paper. Just make sure that it isn’t dusty!
Reuse paper shopping bags by cutting them flat and then wrapping the present in them. Personalise it further with a drawing or hand-written message.
If you have a spare handkerchief or any other fabric lying around, use it as gift wrap for a fun and unique touch to any present.
Search your house for old road maps, books you don’t plan to read again or even sheet music for unique gift wrapping ideas.
Glass jars are perfect for edible gifts and toiletries such as soap or bath salts. Add some recycled tissue paper to complete the look!
Don’t let your old scarves gather dust in your closet or get thrown away when they make perfectly good wrapping paper. Tie them in place with recycled ribbon or twine.
Fabric Gift Bags
A simple fabric sack is an easy paper alternative. Best of all, it can be used over and over. You can DIY a fabric gift bag or repurpose the fabric bags that are becoming popular as product packaging.
Lastly, why not stick to Christmas tradition and use an oversized stocking to hide your gift in? A family heirloom, it’ll be both nostalgic and memorable at the same time.
Get creative with your gift wrapping this Christmas; not only is it more eco-friendly, but it will also add a more personalised and thoughtful touch to your gifts!
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