Sho Shibuya

Eco-Friendly Alternatives for Wrapping & Packaging

by Tatiana Orr

The holidays are here, and it’s the most wonderful time to think about eco-friendly options for gift wrapping and packaging. It is a common misconception that most wrapping paper, boxes, or plastic mailers are recyclable. The fact is, even though they can be nice to look at and an easy option for adding decoration it creates millions of tons of waste every year. Most of these materials are not recyclable and a majority of it ends up adding to contamination. Anything printed in ink or that has glitter turns to sludge instead of being reused. Plastics and artificial fibers from ribbons and tags are not biodegradable either. The combination of these things and other non-recyclable items thrown away every year from November to January produces 25% more waste than any other time of the year. 


The solution is simple and costs just as much if not less than what the average person spends on wrapping paper. Every decision we make when it comes to consumption is a matter of choices. There are more options than the market shows in every day advertising, so it is easy to overlook the sustainable ways to wrap presents and packages. The simplest thing to do would be to reuse old wrapping you might have, or to start saving it when you receive gifts or orders of any kind. Resist the urge to tear apart the paper and keep it intact as much as possible so that it can be used again. Places as accessible as Target sell a few brands that make recyclable wrapping paper and packaging. There are even websites that sell products made from recycled paper like Wrappily, Green Field Paper.


If you are not using 100% paper products, Kraft paper, or paper that is colored by organic dyes there is a high likelihood that it cannot be recycled. No Issue is a great one stop shop with customizable eco-friendly supplies for a single person or businesses. Newspaper or fabric is a great alternative as well. Furoshiki, the Japanese art of cloth wrapping, is a beautiful way to present a gift or anything really. A piece of square or rectangular cloth like a scarf or bandana can be used, and an assortment of printed fabrics can be purchased on Etsy or any fabric store. Mari Kon sells a few on her website, and you can check out Wrappr’s online shop for some. 


Get creative! Explore the different things you can do while decreasing the unnecessary pile up of junk it makes after it serves its purpose. The billions of dollars we spend on wrapping paper ends up in the trash and we end up paying for it in far more ways than one. This holiday and any occasion that follows choose to be eco-friendly!


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