Last-Minute Gift Guide

Give with a clear conscience with eco-friendly wrapping

by Hannah Riegel
Posted 12/16/21

This holiday season make an effort to be more intentional with how you wrap your holiday presents. Each year, about 227,000 miles worth of wrapping paper gets thrown away - enough to circle the …

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Last-Minute Gift Guide

Give with a clear conscience with eco-friendly wrapping

Posted

This holiday season make an effort to be more intentional with how you wrap your holiday presents. Each year, about 227,000 miles worth of wrapping paper gets thrown away - enough to circle the planet nine times! Not only does wrapping gifts create waste, but consumers throw away about $12.7 billion of wrapping paper, tissue paper, and gift bags. 

While wrapping paper broadly falls under the category of “paper,” most rolls are not recyclable. Why? The addition of plastic coating, foil paper, cellophane, glitter, and sparkles makes this paper non-recyclable. 

These staggering numbers illustrate the need for sustainable options. Here are five tips to wrap your gifts sustainably, helping the planet while saving you money.  

Swap Wrapping Paper with Fabric 

Do you have leftover fabric lying around or a fabric store nearby? Use colorful fabric to brighten any present sustainably. The fabric can be reused for future presents or given as an additional gift.  Add leaves or flowers for a personal touch. 

Upcycle Materials 

Instead of looking to buy new items, see if you can reuse or “upcycle” other materials you have at home.  Get creative! Upcycle newspaper, comics, brown paper bags, glass jars, shipping boxes, or magazines. 

Buy Sustainable Alternatives  

Wrapping paper that contains sparkles, artificial textures, glossy finishes, labels, or plastic is non-recyclable. But if you’re not sure, try this “scrunch test” to figure out whether your paper is recyclable. Scrunch the paper in your hand. If it stays in place, it can be recycled. If it expands, it can’t be. 

As for shiny, stick-on bows? Non-recyclable. Single-use packing tape also contributes to a lot of waste.

 So if you do choose to buy wrapping paper, be intentional with your choices and look for sustainable alternatives, including biodegradable tape, recyclable wrapping paper, and fabric ribbons. 

Skip the Wrap! 

Create a new holiday tradition this year by not wrapping your presents. Instead, you can make a scavenger hunt and hide presents around the house. This solution will keep all materials out of the landfill.

Flatten Cardboard

This simple yet overlooked task can make a big difference in the
recycling process. More packing, more to fit in curbside recycling pickup

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