Eco Friendly Wrapping Ideas

My Tips for Eco-Friendly Wrapping Ideas

Do you want to be more environmentally friendly with your gift wrapping in 2022? Then you’ve come to the right place! Christmas wrapping paper can be filled with chemicals and/or plastic and glitter, therefore making them non-recyclable and more than a little wasteful. If you’re looking to make a change, here are my top eco-friendly wrapping ideas for 2022!

Before I dive into my list of 14 ways to make gift wrapping eco-friendly in 2021, let’s just have a little chat. Around Christmas, it’s estimated that Americans throw out an extra 1 million tons of trash per week – and one of the biggest offenders of seasonal waste is single-use wrapping paper. Let’s all make a concerted effort to reduce that number by using these eco-friendly wrapping ideas this year!

1. Avoid Glitter and Metallic Foils

As I was saying above, most wrapping papers can’t be recycled due to them containing glitter or some form of a metallic foil. If you want to keep your gift wrapping as environmentally friendly as possible, stay clear of glitter or metallic foils! If you already have some leftover wrapping paper or gift bags in storage, as recommended in my post-Christmas clean up and clear out post, then continue to use them – they might as well get used instead of binned without being used.

2. Don’t Write on the Labels of Gift Bags

Gift bags make gift wrapping so simple. If something’s an unusual shape, or you’ve not had enough paper left, presenting your gift in a gift bag makes life easier. However, gift bags are often covered in glitter or metallic foils. Plus a lot of them have those ribbon handles. So rather than making them a single-use item, either don’t write on the labels on the bags or tear off labels that have been written on them and keep using the bag. Again, you can store these safely for one year and the next. I even collect unwanted gift bags from family and friends so I can make sure they’re used time and again!

3. Use Rustic Brown Paper and Self Decorate

Does anyone else get insta-envy when they see the gorgeously self-decorated gifts wrapped in rustic brown paper? You don’t have to be an artist to use this eco-friendly gift-wrapping technique! Get your hands on some rustic brown paper, and pull out the craft box of pens, pencils, crayons, and anything you have with which you can decorate the paper! Art is not your strong point? Check out tips 8, 9, and 10!


4. Use Plain Paper

And no, I don’t mean the plain brown paper we just talked about. But instead of buying the glittery shiny paper, we’re drawn to each year, why not pick out a gorgeous but plain Christmas wrapping paper that can be recycled? We bought some from Marks and Spencer a few years ago and still have pieces of it, and we love how pretty it looks under the tree.

5. Wrap in a Scarf

Okay, this tip is one of the eco-friendly wrapping ideas I picked up from Emmy at The Greener Guru, and is probably one of her most requested Instagram stories each Christmas. Using her tutorial in her “Eco Wrapping” Instagram Highlight, you can wrap just about anything in a gorgeous scarf, or really any fabric! I did this for a Christmas Pudding I gifted to some friends of the family a while back, meaning they got a tasty pudding and a festive tea towel was thrown in for good measure. Check out Emmy’s story for even more eco-friendly wrapping ideas!

6. Reusable Boxes for Gift Wrapping

Much like the versatile scarf and gift bag, the gift box makes for a perfect eco-friendly alternative gift-wrapping idea for your gifting seasons. These can be picked up in most shops around the festive season, and save you from stressing about how to wrap that bauble that contains socks and nail polish! As eco-friendly wrapping ideas go, this is one that saves you a lot of time and hassle. Plus, the storage boxes are great for storing decorations in when you’re cleaning up and clearing out after Christmas!

7. Amazon Eco-Friendly Paper

I will admit, it was only a few weeks ago I discovered this eco-friendly gift-wrapping concept existed. However, Amazon has got your back in eco-friendly Christmas wrapping this year with their shop of eco-friendly wrapping paper! Check out their stock of papers here!

8. Washi Tape

Did you know, no wrapping paper can be recycled if the tape you use isn’t recyclable? At this point, washi tape is your friend. Not just perfect for bullet journals and crafting, but a good quality washi tape can be a great way to ensure your Christmas wrapping is more eco-friendly this year. I personally love this festive set on Amazon, but they have many other options too! Just remember to avoid the glittery stuff. While it looks pretty, it’s not eco-friendly for your gift wrapping!

9. String or Twine

Not a fan of washi tape? String or twine will work just as well to seal any eco-friendly gift wrapping you’re doing! I struggled with this at first, until I saw someone tweet that they use a post-it note to hold the paper together until they have their twine wrapped perfectly around the present, and then they remove it – genius! So get practicing those knot-tying skills, and you may even feel like adding a festive branch or decoration to the string tying it all together.

10. Old Wallpaper Can Be Used for Christmas Wrapping

Remember when we used to back our school books in old wrapping paper? well, this can also be used in our list of eco-friendly wrapping ideas! Off-cuts from an opened roll could be the perfect shape or size for using to wrap one or two of your Christmas presents this year. Everyone I know that uses wallpaper will keep at least one roll spare in case of emergencies, but very often the ends of rolls just get binned rather than kept and reused. Instead of following the trend, you can use this wallpaper for your Christmas wrapping in an eco-friendly way!

11. Save Christmas Wrapping Paper Year on Year

Are you someone who has the patience to calmly take the paper off your presents? Or maybe someone else in your house can do this? Save that paper and use it again next year! If you can easily remove any tape and/or gift tags, this is one eco-friendly gift-wrapping idea that can save you money while also helping the environment.

12. Gift Tags and Eco-Friendly Wrapping Ideas

Okay, when it comes to gift tags there are a few things we can do to be eco-friendly in our wrapping and gifting. As with gift bags and Christmas wrapping paper, a lot of these contain glitter and metallic foil meaning they can’t be recycled. Now you could ask friends and family to return their gift tags to you each year, but that might not come across as the best. One eco-friendly wrapping idea suggestion for gift tags is to use wooden Christmas decorations. If you manage to pick a few of these up, you can write your “To” and “from” on the back of the decoration, and it’s a keepsake the recipient can keep for years to come. Alternatively, you can make your own!

13. Burlap Sacks

Go fully rustic with your eco-friendly wrapping ideas this year by purchasing some burlap sacks! You can pick these up in many different shops, from Amazon, or go for personalized ones from Etsy for that super cute personal touch with your alternative to Christmas wrapping. Plus, like gift bags, these can be reused and save the worry of irregular shapes. It’s a win-win in my opinion!

14. Shopping Tote Bags

Do you know those cute handbag tote bags for you to take shopping to save on buying a plastic bag? They’re great for gifting to friends and family! Like the burlap sack above, you can reuse them, save them using Christmas wrapping paper, and is an extra little gift for the recipient. Instead of buying hampers that require plastic bags to make them look pretty, why not put your hamper items into a reusable shopping tote? Some places like Etsy and Amazon even have festive ones you can use and gift!

Do you have a suggestion for an alternative way to wrap your Christmas presents this year to make sure it’s as eco-friendly as you can manage? Let us know in the comments below! And don’t forget to pin this post to refer back to whenever birthdays and other gift-giving occasions arise!

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