Environmentally Friendly Alternatives to Wrapping Paper

Gift Wrapping Paper Trash
Wrapping paper might be pretty, but it is not exactly environmentally benign. Whether you are wrapping presents for a special birthday, an anniversary or the holiday season, you can be sure of one thing: the wrapping paper will hit the trash can as soon as the gift is revealed.

That means a lot of waste, and plenty of old wrapping paper in landfills when the holiday season is over. Fortunately, there are environmentally friendly alternatives to wrapping paper that are fun, exciting and great to use. Here are just a few.

  • Gift bags — Gift bags are also manufactured products, but they have the advantage of being reusable. When the gift is revealed, you can simply take the bag and pack it away in your holiday box for next year.
  • Newspaper — If you subscribe to the daily newspaper, put the old ones to good use as impromptu wrapping paper. Just look for a colorful section or fun story and use it to wrap your presents. You can dress it up with glitter pens, ribbons and other special touches.
  • Paper grocery bags — Paper bags from the grocery store are the perfect size and shape for wrapping presents. Just slide the gift inside, seal it up and dress up the bag with glitter pens, magic markers, ribbon and even crayons. Creating colorful and attractive paper grocery bags is a great holiday craft project for the kids and a perfect way for the family to get together.
  • Fabric — It is hard to reuse wrapping paper because the material is so thin and fragile. Even if you try, chances are you will not be able to reuse wrapping paper from one year to the next. Fabric is different; you can reuse it dozens of times, and it is just as colorful and attractive as any holiday wrapping paper. Just head to the local fabric store and pick up an assortment of colors and patterns.
  • Boxes — Chances are, you will be getting a lot of boxes in the mail as you do your Christmas shopping. Put them to good use for gift giving by adding colorful ribbons, tags, bows and other highlights. If the outside of the box is marred, just turn it inside out.
  • Jars — Homemade edible gifts are perfect for the people on your list who have everything. Fill a canning jar with the dry ingredients for your favorite cookie recipe, then top it off with a tag containing the full instructions. Jars and cans are the perfect receptacles for all kinds of homemade and store-bought gifts, from holiday foods to candles.
  • Children’s Artwork — If you want something even more creative, get the kids involved and ask them to create their own one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Carefully wrap each present in the artwork or use the pictures in conjunction with boxes or paper grocery bags. The recipients of your largesse will have an extra memento to take home, and the kids will get the satisfaction of creating something fun and new.

All that holiday and birthday gift wrapping paper comes with a real environmental cost. It may look pretty when neatly wrapped on a gift box, but soon afterwards it becomes trash in a landfill. There are some gift wrap manufacturers out there that address the issue with recycled products, but why not take it a step further? Here is some genius gift wrap that you can just throw on the ground in good conscience. Not only is it 100% recycled paper, but it's embedded with hundreds of wildflower seeds that will grow into beautiful flowers.