By Emma Stessman
Any expert gift-giver knows that presentation is almost as important as what’s wrapped up inside. Gift giving is an art after all, and when you spend so much time picking out the perfect item for your loved one, you want the packaging to reflect that same thoughtfulness.
Unfortunately, after the unwrapping frenzy, those piles of paper, plastics, and bows don’t just amount to an annoying mess to clean up (OMG there’s glitter everywhere). They also add up to a whole lot of waste—much of it non-recyclable.
Fear not! (Didn’t you hear? ‘Tis the season to be jolly.) To lighten your environmental footprint, you don’t have to sacrifice the bells and whistles (or, um, bows and ribbons) while wrapping this holiday season. Try these few simple shifts to wrap the eco-friendly gifts you’re giving this year in greener packaging.
(Featured Photo: Shutterstock)
3 Tips to Make Your Gift Wrapping Greener
1. Avoid non-recyclable paper, and save your bows
Though the name might suggest otherwise (uh, it’s paper?), many kinds of wrapping paper contain other materials, like glitter and foil that can’t be recycled. A good rule of thumb is to keep it simple; nothing metallic, glittery, or super shiny. (The prettiest, classiest wrapping papers are the simple ones, anyway, right?)
Most ribbons and bows also aren’t recyclable, so it’s better to avoid them altogether––though if you can’t resist tying that signature red ribbon on top of your gifts, we totally get it. Buy sturdy, fabric bows and ribbons that your giftee can save. Thankfully most ribbons and bows hold up fine year-to-year, so after you open gifts, collect them and save them for re-use. They’ll last you another few years, at the least.
2. Use what you already have
If “brown paper packages tied up with string” aren’t already one of your favorite things, you should add them to the list. Using recyclable materials that you already have in your house, like brown paper bags, newspapers and magazines, or old maps (you still have a few laying around somewhere, right?) to create DIY wrapping paper eliminates creating new waste. Plus, those paper packages will have that Insta-ready rustic look if you tie a sprig from your tree or a few fragrant herbs to the string.
For going completely waste-free, try furoshiki, a traditional Japanese method of wrapping a present in cloth (here’s an easy how-to tutorial from Elle Decor). Any type of fabric will work, whether it’s a bandana, a scarf or dish towel…you can even make the wrapping a part of the present.
3. Buy eco-friendly wrapping paper
If you don’t have the time for a DIY project, no worries. Plenty of companies offer greener solutions to your wrapping woes. For example, Wrappily sells fun, festive (and 100 percent recyclable) patterned paper as well as compostable and biodegradable ribbons. And Paper Source uses stone, instead of trees, to create a water-resistant, recyclable, and reusable wrapping paper.
Now go play eco-Santa. You’re ready for it.