Green Holiday Wrapping Can be Reused, Recycled – and Free

I love surprises, so using some kind of wrapping adds to the fun of giving the present. Otherwise, why not just throw the gift at the giftee and say, "Hope you like it!"

What I hate is seeing so much beautiful paper just being ripped up and tossed aside. Honestly, these days, it's a little embarrassing to put bags full of ripped up paper out on the curb for trash pick-up. And I just can't get beyond the fact that making paper is one of the most polluting industries on earth. The less I use, the better.

Hence, my list of green wrapping paper alternatives:

Envirosax Reusable cloth bag These Envirosax bags are really beautiful and can be used all year long. $7.95 – $8.50 Bring It in a Bag bags also make wonderful holiday wraps.

Reusable shopping bag - $.99 at almost any grocery store

Holiday gift bags – free;  reused from gifts people have given me

Homemade gift bags – the price of fabric (free if you reuse what you already have); my neighbor makes gift bags of all sizes from beautiful but inexpensive holiday fabric she buys at the local craft store. Use pinking shears to give the top edge some flair after you sew the other three sides together, then bunch the top and tie with a reusable ribbon.

Reused gift wrap – free (I “capture” it as it’s coming off the present, fold it up, and put it in a box so I can easily find and reuse it next year)

Giftwrap 1 New recycled gift wrap – Pristine Planet offers recycled, recylable paper online (see Reindeer paper, right). If you're buying when you're at the mall, ask the sales clerk for the most eco-friendly option they sell.

Kitchen towels – ideally, made from organic cotton, but anything reusable is a good choice

Scarves – rather than wrap an entire box, tie a decorative scarf around the box and attach a tag made from a recycled gift card

Sunday comics – free

As for gift tags, reuse last year's holiday cards. Cut off the card that has the signature, thread a ribbon through a corner of the remaining card, and voila! 

One caveat about any kind of printed wrapping paper: the inks and foils used in wrapping paper may contain chemicals that become toxic when burned. If you can't reuse the paper, don't burn it: recycle it.

7 Responses to Green Holiday Wrapping Can be Reused, Recycled – and Free

  1. Carmen December 7, 2008 at 8:47 pm #

    Great ideas! I also love the 100% recycled, recyclable, and adorable gift wrap from, which Ecoscene named one of its Top 5 items at the DC Green Fest!

  2. Diane MacEachern December 8, 2008 at 6:43 am #

    Thanks for writing, and happy holidays!

  3. Condo Blues December 11, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    I use old buisness cards to make gift tags. I glue two buisnesscards printed sides facing each other. I cut them into a tag shape/use a decorative punch on the corners and punch a hole in the top to tie to the gift.

  4. Kim December 11, 2009 at 11:20 am #

    I just discovered Fish Lips Paper Designs’ 100% recycled paper made with soy inks. The images are really graphic and definitely not dull, while the paper is really thick and feels expensive! Here’s a review I did for The Central Florida Green Guide

  5. Billigste iphone 4 October 26, 2010 at 3:51 am #

    I have heard someplace that recycled materials are more energy consuming than new materials. But how can this be?

  6. Gift Bag Fabric November 6, 2012 at 4:17 am #

    Well in our Era today we can say that some people turns to be irresponsible and immoral they don’t even use their mind, they love using paper wrapper for Christmas gift which is not reusable not just like fabric bags which you can use over and over again and make the gift more re presentable.

  7. Garden Bags August 15, 2013 at 11:26 pm #

    What a lovely bag.

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