Waste-Free Alternatives to Wrapping Paper

by Krista Shows

Did you know that approximately 30 million trees are cut down each year so that people in the USA can wrap their Christmas gifts? (1)

For so long we have depended on wrapping paper to conceal our presents from inquisitive recipients. Wrapping paper is not the easiest thing to recycle. It is possible for one to gather it, smooth it out, and recycle it. However, due to additives and chemicals that are many times used to make it glisten and glow, there is a big chance that the paper will not be recycled. In an effort to decrease waste this holiday season, consider these alternatives that are both innovative and sustainable ways of wrapping:

  • Furoshiki, an ancient Japanese practice that includes wrapping your presents with fabric. It is reusable every single time and makes for an absolutely beautiful covering. Check out different ways of doing it here.
  • Boxes and gift bags are more likely to be reused versus wrapping paper.
  • Reuse paper that you already have! My dad has used the comics section of the newspaper to wrap his gifts for as long as I can remember. Receiving gifts wrapped in comics is something I will never be upset about. Paper bags from the grocery also work wonderfully. Is your present still not spicy enough? Get our your pens and glitter and do the spicing up yourself!
  • Do like my dad did growing up when he gave my little sister and I our “treats” from his travels- ask your recipient to close their eyes and hold our their hands… or put a blindfold on them!
  • If you really can’t kick the ole’ habit, consider buying recycled wrapping paper. There are companies out there like Green Field Paper Company and Fish Lips that make wrapping paper using post-consumer recycled waste and chemical-free treatment processes.
  • For waste-free holiday cards, consider making your own or reusing old cards. Tearing off the front of an old card can make an excellent postcard.

(1) – via this website // furoshiki photo – via this website

Krista Shows

Krista Shows is an artist based in the Mississippi Delta. She holds a bachelors degree with specializations in apparel and textile design, anthropology, and communication from Mississippi State University. Krista has lived here and there, including: Los Angeles, CA, Big Island – Hawai’i, Asheville, NC, and in North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest. Krista derives uncontrollable pleasure from the natural world, adventure, community, music, and sleeping outside.