5 easy eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas

Some people love it, most of us loathe it, but either way there’s no getting away from the mammoth amount of gift wrapping that must be done at this time of year. And with that comes an obscene amount of wrapping paper, gift bags and all manner of other gift wrapping paraphernalia, which, let’s face it, isn’t our most eco-friendly habit.

eco gift wrapping ideas
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Camille Wilkinson, the ‘eco crafting maven’ and author of Gift Wrap Green, told us her eco-friendly gift wrapping tips for making your Christmas present wrapping a bit more eco-conscious, a lot less wasteful and, actually, much more beautiful.

READ MORE: Christmas present ideas for 2021

1. Buy recycled and recyclable wrapping paper

‘If you want to purchase traditional wrapping paper, keep an eye open for products made from recycled materials and ones that can themselves be reused or recycled,’ Camille told YOU. Check out brands such as John Lewis and Re-wrapped.

‘Remember to do the scrunch test – not all types of wrapping paper can be recycled. The easiest way to determine this is to do what is known as the scrunch test – it’s as simple as scrunching the wrapping paper in your hand. If the paper remains scrunched it’s recyclable, but if it springs back it’s more than likely to be covered with a plastic film which can’t be recycled.’

2. Step away from the sellotape

Did you know that if even a tiny bit of sellotape is left on wrapping paper or a cardboard box it is no longer recyclable and will end up in landfill? To save your recipient the trouble of peeling off every scrap of sellotape, secure your gift wrap with pritt stick or use brown kraft paper tape which is recyclable (£3, Paperchase).

3. Make your own wrapping paper

Instead of buying fancy-looking (and, let’s face it, expensive) wrapping paper, you can easily create your own: ‘Rubber stamps can transform plain brown paper in an instant,’ suggest Camille.

Remember to look far and wide for interesting materials that can be transformed into gift wrap: ‘Many newspapers feature the most intriguing full colour photographs, especially in their weekend supplements. Reuse these much sought after images to lift your gift wrapping,’ says Camille. You could also repurpose printed paper shopping bags, old music sheets, atlas and road map pages, book pages (dictionary pages are excellent), corrugated cardboard and recipe book pages.

You can also try your hand at furoshiki, the Japanese art of fabric wrapping, which makes for beautiful, reusable gift wrap.

4. Look at what you already have

‘In addition to giving consideration to your paper materials, instead of buying more, start collecting. Keep a conveniently placed container at hand, so you can easily add ribbon salvaged from gifts you’ve been given, or any random ties and string; interesting bits and bobs or impromptu finds that may come your way to use as gift toppers or embellishments.’

Take a walk in your local park and see what nature can provide – anything from interesting twigs and sprigs to tiny pinecones, acorns, leaves and flowers can be tied to the front of a present to give it a rustic look.

5. Don’t forget the gift tags

Remember you don’t need to spend money on new gift tags every year – simply save your old Christmas cards and cut up the fronts to create interesting gift tags for the following year.