It’s that time of the year….when enough wrapping paper is thrown away in the UK to stretch around the equator nine times. This festive-looking blend of synthetic inks, plastic film, chlorine and metal-based foils and glitters (along with fibres from some of the most endangered trees) is appreciated for a couple of by the gift-receiver until they tear it apart to get to the true prize – the (hopefully) thoughtfully chosen gift inside.
Want to change this wasteful cycle? Here are six tried and tested alternatives to wrapping paper this Christmas season:
1. Tissue Paper
You can save the tissue paper that comes in your packages or at the bottom of gift bags, and then use several layers to wrap up your gifts. You can even decorate it with stamps or coloured pencils.
2. Tins or Jars
Finished with your can of tomato sauce? Wash it up, peel off the label and, instead of lugging it out to the recycling bin, you can just use it to package your gifts or create student-loan friendly homemade gifts such as self care packages or hot chocolate mixes.
3. Reuse Newspapers or Magazines
So I get that young adults in the 21st century mostly get their news from Twitter, but if you are one of the few who still reads physical newspapers (respect), then save them – they make amazing wrapping paper! If, like me, you haven’t seen a physical newspaper since 2012, then you can buy a cheap, interesting-looking newspaper (bonus points for it being in a language neither of you understand so as to not offend anyone with its content) for as cheap as possible for recyclable and intellectual-looking gift packaging. Or, alternatively, you can put that fashion magazine subscription to good use with some fashionable looking wrapping.
4. Plain Brown Paper (or Butcher Paper, Freezer paper, or Newsprint Ends).
OK, so I suppose it’s technically still “wrapping paper,” since it’s paper that you wrap with, but using plain brown paper is much more budget-friendly than the sparkly stuff, plus it’s also recyclable, unlike most regular wrapping paper. You can wrap it up with some coloured ribbons, draw/paint on it to make it more colourful, or add some fir tree sprigs for that Christmassy vibe.
5. Inside-out crisp bags:
Finally an excuse for not sticking to your healthy diet plan. EcoCult suggests flipping crisp bags inside out to reveal their shiny silver side and using them to wrap a small gift (after washing out the salty residue, of course).
6. Support a Local, Sustainable, Ethical Maker
If you are desperate to have traditional-looking wrapping paper and have money to spend, then buying from a local, sustainable, ethical maker of wrapping paper is also an option. You can go on Etsy and look for wrapping paper made in your area.
Happy sustainable holidays!