Wrap presents in reusable items
Who says wrapping gifts with flair has to involve rolls of flashy store-bought paper, and ribbons? Dazzle the recipients and shrink your gift-giving footprint, by adorning packages with reusable items—unconventional, and utilitarian are the operative words here. Not only will you cut down on the production of new wrapping paper and preserve forests, but you'll also keep piles of paper out of landfills.
How to wrap presents with re-useable items
Whether you have reusable bags and boxes or choose to recycle found items around your home, there are dozens of ways to wrap things up without disposable giftwrap.
- Fabric gift bags: These fabric wraps and bags are so much quicker and easier than wrapping with paper, even un-nimble fingers won’t mind the work. Japanese "Furoshiki" are traditional wrapping cloths originally used like bags to carry items (still a good alternative to plastic bags). They also make great giftwrap. The Japanese Ministry of Environment promotes Furoshiki to cut down on waste and has a guide to using them. Also check out this great video showing how to use Furoshiki.
- Reusable bags and boxes: Earth-conscious gift givers can wrap their presents in an eco-friendly fashion by purchasing reusable gift bags or boxes that can be passed from gift recipient to gift recipient—they may even find themselves halfway around the world! Many are made with sustainable ingredients like recycled cotton or paper.
Crafty folks may wish to fashion giftwrappers for bundling up gifts:
- Sew fabric gift bags: Whip up some homemade reusable gift bags to use from year to year by repurposing old sheets, pillow cases, scraps of fabric, or even holiday-themed sweaters and T-shirts. But if nothing around your home inspires, try purchasing good quality, eco-friendly fabrics made from organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, or even silk. Get all kinds of patterns online: Craft Stylish, The Artful Crafter, or Furoshiki to name a few.
- Recycling paper for wrapping: Wrap up those gifts in paper found around your house, like old maps (for the traveler), comics (for the humorist), or children’s artwork (for parents). Last year’s wrapping (ironed out) and used paper bags also work nicely as home-grown recycled options. You can also save paper wrapping paper for future presents by removing it gently from the gift inside. Old giftwrap can also be used to make gift tags and greeting cards, and when shredded, makes a colorful filler instead of gift tissue.
- DIY gift boxes: Found items—greeting cards, cereal boxes—from around your house can also be reused to make gift boxes in a variety of shapes and sizes, all of which’ll save money and reduce trips to the recycling bin.
- Give two useful presents instead of one: Wrapping a gift within a gift. For example, tuck cooking utensils in an apron or "package" gifts in a jewelry box, flower pot, or basket.
Find it! Reusable giftwrapping items
Ecopapel's handmade gift bags are created from natural materials like seeds, leaves, banana fiber, and come in eight sizes, all sporting original designs. Waste paper is collected from schools, offices, banks, and other places for reprocessing into new paper.
Choose from among JUN-gift's large collection of colorful Furoshiki cloth squares. Used traditionally to carry clothing and toiletries to and from public bathhouses in Japan, Furoshiki is now making a comeback for giftwrapping and as carry-alls.
Lagniappe reusable cloth gift bags are made from 100 percent organic cotton and colored with eco-friendly dyes. Send a used bag back and receive an electronic coupon for 10 percent off your next online purchase.
Choose from among the many designs and materials in this extensive line of Japanese Furoshiki cloths. Once gift-giving is done, use Furoshiki cloths again to wrap another present, decorate your walls, or as squares for a quilt.
These reusable cloth gift bags are hand-batiked or screen-printed using biodegradable dyes. Gift bags come in assorted sizes, including a tall size for wine bottles. Each Wrapsack has a unique number to help you keep tabs on where your gift bag journeys as it's passed from gift recipient to recipient.
Wrapping presents in reusable items helps you go green because…
- It preserves virgin timber resources along with the energy used to harvest them.
- It removes wrapping paper from the solid waste stream, saving landfill space.
As much as half of the 85 million tons of paper products America consumes every year goes toward packaging, wrapping, and decorating consumer goods. Giftwrap's impact on our waste flow becomes especially noticeable during the holiday shopping season, when Americans create an average of 25 percent more waste than usual, to the tune of 1 million additional tons each week between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.
Like most forms of paper, giftwrap impacts the environment adversely during its disposal and production alike, initially consuming virgin resources (trees, water, fuel) before ending up in landfills. Indeed, wrapping paper and shopping bags alone account for about 4 million tons of trash each year. If every family in America relied on reused materials to wrap just three gifts, they would save enough paper to blanket 45,000 football fields.
- ehow.com - How to Reuse Wrapping Paper
- California Integrated Waste Management Board - No-Waste Gift-Giving and Gift-Wrapping Ideas
- Recycleworks - Facts on Holiday Waste
- US Environmental Protection Agency - Paper and Paperboard Products
- ULS (Use Less Stuff) - 42 Ways to Trim Your Holiday Wasteline
- US Environmental Protection Agency - Municipal Solid Waste: Commodities - Paper and Paperboard Products
- Stanford University Recycling Center - Commonly Asked Questions: Holiday Waste Prevention