How to Wrap Gifts in an Earth-friendly Way
There can be a lot of waste associated with gift giving, but if we all make a few small changes to our routines, we can put a dent in that waste. One option is to reuse paper you may already have around your house. Growing up, we used to love wrapping gifts in the comics section from the Sunday newspaper. These days, I’m getting a lot of packages delivered to my house that contain packing paper. It’s a bit wrinkled from being stuffed in the box but do some smoothing and it makes a perfect wrapping paper.
Rather than using the plastic bows that come in a plastic bag from the store, why not try your hand at using natural twine or thin cotton rope. Yes, we’re going old school! You can decorate with evergreens if you like, but I’m sure the twine will be sufficient decoration. And, now you don’t need gift tags since you can write the name of the recipient right on the paper.
If you want to continue using decorative paper that you buy on the roll, just look for the kinds that can be recycled. If you can crush it into a ball without it opening up again, it is recyclable. After the gift has been opened, make sure to remove any non-recyclable elements and then stuff into a brown paper bag and add to your recycling bin.
There are several companies that make wrapping paper from recycled materials. Be sure to check them out here:
Another option is to use gift bags or decorative boxes (and reuse them). I have bags and boxes from the early years that we were married without children. Reusing bags and boxes can save you money in the long term if you take good care of them. I have a box of bags and boxes in my basement for just this purpose. Sometimes we have to refresh the tissue paper, but that’s a lot less than replacing wrapping paper every year.
Lastly, I have had some friends recommend using fabric to wrap gifts. As a quilter, I wouldn’t mind getting gifts wrapped in fabric (a gift within a gift), but I’m not sure wrapping gifts in fabric to give outside of your family is useful. If the person is not a sewer or a quilter, do you ask for the fabric back?
No matter how you decide to wrap gifts this year, get creative and find ways to reduce the waste.

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