6 Eco-Friendly Gift-Wrapping Ideas

Try these eco-packaging ideas this holiday season.

Have you ever waded knee-deep through the detritus of discarded paper, tissue, and ribbon after a gift-opening frenzy and thought, “What a waste”? Well, you’re right. According to Use Less Stuff, during the holiday season Americans throw away 25 percent more trash than usual—or 25 million tons of garbage. What’s more, many wrapping materials are not recyclable because they have a high metal content.

After years of witnessing the aftermath of family Christmases and children’s parties, former yoga teacher Kathryn Hapke was inspired to find a better way to wrap gifts. She started Wrapsacks, a business that sells hand-dyed batik cotton gift bags—with a twist. Wrapsacks are meant to be regifted. Each bag comes with a tracking number so you can see how far your bag has traveled. You can even watch the bag’s journey using Google maps—a fun activity for kids.

In addition to using cloth bags, you can recycle old wrapping paper or create your own style of decorative and eco-friendly gift wraps. With a little effort, your packages will be as big a hit as the gifts they contain.

6 Eco-Friendly Ways to Wrap Gifts

  • Furoshiki is a type of traditional Japanese wrapping using cloth. Take any square of cloth—a bandana, a scarf, or even a cut-up shirt or pair of jeans—lay it out in a diamond shape, and center the gift on it. Flip the southern corner of fabric up over the gift, tucking the cloth under if necessary, and bring the north corner over the top and let any extra material hang. Then tie the east and west corners at the top of the gift.
  • Decorate a paper bag with stencil or crayon.
  • Use an out-of-date map or some sheet music.
  • Recycle vintage containers, such as cigar, shoe, or hat boxes.
  • Incorporate environmentally friendly items, such as raffia, string, or strips of cotton or silk, in lieu of synthetic ribbon.
  • Use natural gift-box fillers, such as leaves, straw, pine needles, or shredded recycled paper scented with a few drops of essential oil.

See also The Yogi’s 2015 Holiday Gift Guide