When you really stop to think about it, the way we pack gifts for the holidays is a truly staggering waste. Why use all those materials and resources to carefully wrap and package a gift when it is usually only going to be ripped off and thrown away?
There are a huge range of beautiful wrapping papers out there. Unfortunately, many of them are not sustainable in any way. Papers often come from clear-felled forests and paper pulp mills that belch pollution into the sky. Many also have plastic coatings, and come at an even greater cost. Most commercially sold wrapping paper cannot be recycled. So it contributes to our planet's massive waste problem when it is thrown away.
Fortunately, there are plenty of more eco-friendly gift wrapping options to consider. Here are a few ideas that could be beautiful and eco-friendly ways to give your gifts this year:
Make Your Own Recycled Paper
When you buy wrapping paper, it is often impossible to know where it came from. If you make your own paper, you won't have this problem. If you are feeling very ambitious, you can make your own paper from stinging nettle fibres! But if this is too large a project, you could still consider making your own recycled paper using pulp from paper and card already in your home.
You can then decorate that paper using natural dyes, and eco-friendly paints, real flowers of your choice to create a range of beautiful effects! Watch this tutorial by Net Zero team on how to make a zero-waste aesthetic card. 100% no waste and will touch anyone's heart!
Make Small Gift Boxes From Cardboard (Or Even Toilet Roll Tubes)
You can also consider making your own small boxes for gifts from old cardboard boxes, or other scrap card. Again, you can use eco-friendly paints, or glue on natural items from your garden to make them truly beautiful. To give a small gift (like jewellery, for example), you can push in the ends of a toilet roll tube to make a small package. If you decorate it, they will never guess where it came from! You can also use old magazines to make boxes, picking out beautiful images from them to use.
Make a Gift Bag or Wrap From Recycled Fabric
When wrapping gifts, it is important to remember that you do not necessarily have to use paper or card at all. You could also use recycled fabrics to make a gift bag or wrap. Choosing a nice piece of fabric means that your loved one may even be able to use it again after they unwrap their present.
Use Glass Jars and Other Household Waste for DIY Gift
If you look around your home, or even in your recycling pile, you will likely find a number of items that could be used to beautifully package a gift. Glass jars are often ideal for small or edible presents. And you might also be able to use other packaging by repurposing it in a clever way. For example, a yogurt pot might be painted and used to give a beautiful houseplant or another living gift. Skincare and cosmetic packaging can be used for a homemade candle!
We have an easy candle-making tutorial at home that you can copy! You can customize the scent or color, because personalized gift will always win the effort!
Place a Gift Within Another Gift
Remember, the gift wrapping you use does not necessarily have to be something your loved one will throw away. It could be an additional gift. A beautiful hand knitted item, for example, could be used to wrap around a smaller gift. If you are skilled in woodworking, you could make a small wooden box for another gift to go in. You might also give someone another gift inside a ceramic dish, vase or planter – perhaps something from a local antiques or thrift store.
If you use your imagination, you will soon see that the above ideas are just the beginning. There are a huge range of options that don't involve doing so much harm to people and planet. So next time you reach for wrapping paper in the store – think again. There are so many better options to pack your gifts in a beautiful and eco-friendly way.