Seeing a beautifully wrapped present under the tree at Christmas is always magical. But in our increasingly eco-aware culture, it’s fair to say that we’ve become far more cautious when it comes to waste. And unfortunately, Christmas is the time of year when most of it is created.
Every year, 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is thrown away. It is also estimated that around three-and-a-half black bags full of Christmas packaging will be thrown out per household every year. Depressingly, we don’t recycle nearly as much as we should, either. In 2014, 400,000 tonnes of paper and card packaging weren’t collected for recycling when they could and should have been.
When you put it like that, wrapping endless amounts of gifts seems a little less palatable. And while up to 70 per cent of packaging can be recycled or reused in some way, it’s definitely better to just use less in the first place.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo lovely-looking gifts altogether. Experts (and holders of the Royal Warrant of Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen), Veritas Gifts, has shared a list of the seven best eco-friendly options for Christmas wrapping.
Drawn on ribbons
There is always something elegant about having a gift wrapped in ribbons and tags, but this is just extra waste that can really be avoided. Get creative instead, and pick up some gold or silver sharpie pens to draw on your own. Pretty, and sustainable.
Taking an old sheet of newspaper to wrap up a gift is actually an incredibly lovely way to add a personalised touch. You can pick out pages that would be relevant to the recipient, and you can be sure the newspaper will be recycled afterwards. Pair with green or red string or reusable ribbons for the best contrast and a pop of colour.
From old clothing to Christmas tablecloths you’re not so interested in anymore, fabric is a great alternative to wasteful wrapping paper, and can be used over and over again. If you’re not keen on wrapping your entire present in fabric, you could always cut into it to create a ribbon to wrap around your gift.
Recycled brown paper
The creative opportunities with brown paper are endless. It may sound like a bore, but you can really liven up brown paper with everything from drawn on decorations to pretty stamps. The paper is usually already recycled, and can be recycled again, and won’t cost a lot. Your best bet for this one is the post office, where it is sold at very fair prices. Tuck in a sprig of foliage for a luxury touch.
Pages of old books
The perfect alternative for big reading fans, wrapping your present in the pages of an old book could not get any better – charity shops and car boot sales are the perfect place to stock up. As the sheets are small it is a little more hands-on, and you may need to follow a tutorial on YouTube to figure it out; it’s essneitlaly a case of folding and then popping your present in. Close it up with a recyclable peg.
Not only a cool way to drink a cocktail, mason jars are perfectly suited for packaging certain gifts. Toiletries, for example, work brilliantly in mason jars, as do edible gifts. While mason jars already look great on their own, you can always jazz yours up with some paint, ribbons or recycled tissue paper.
With our online shopping addictions, most of us will already have plenty of boxes lying around that can be taken advantage of before throwing into the recycling. Decorate a plain brown box with things like biodegradable glitter for the most impact, and hide oddly shaped gifts that could easily be guessed.