I love everything Christmas and could easily browse the Christmas isles for hours. So I know how easy it is to get wrapped up (sorry) in all the glitter and sparkles at this time of year. But a few years ago I was shocked to find out that the gorgeous sparkly wrapping paper, a firm favourite of mine, you know the type that drops sparkles everywhere and you end up wiping off your other half’s nose. Well it probably isn’t recyclable. Most Christmas wrapping paper isn’t, glitter, synthetic inks, plastic coating and sellotape can mean gift wrap ends up in landfill instead.
Tip: you can check whether paper is plastic coated or not by scrunching it. If it stays scrunched, it’s probably fine to recycle, but if it pops back, it’s covered in plastic.
It’s estimated that every Christmas in the UK, we use and throw away enough wrapping paper to circle the entire globe nine times. That is a huge amount of waste! But don’t panic there are lots of eco friendly gift wrapping ideas that are better for the environment and probably your pocket too!
Grab yourself a roll of recycled brown paper and you can be as creative as you like in your wrapping. Draw on your own bows, or add reusable pieces of fabric, think velvet and satin ribbons. (Just ask friends and family to keep hold of them to either give back to you or reuse themselves)
Another idea is to stamp your brown paper with Christmas themed stamps and ink. The kids can even get involved in this one.
Then when it comes to fastening your wrapping paper, Tape Discs from Bostik* are a great eco friendly way of doing it. Stickier than other paper tape I have tried before they are completely recyclable so there is no need to pull them off before putting your paper in the recycling. You can also then secure your bows and ribbons on with the discs or twine.
If you’ve opted for a real Christmas tree, the easiest option is to take a few small cuttings from a selection of innocuous branches – spruce, pine and fir cuttings look best paired with simple brown paper and natural twine.
Or get outside and forage locally. Some favourite of mine are holly leaves, pine cones, and winterberries. Or how about some mistletoe for that special someone!
You could consider using fabric gift bags instead of paper. You can buy pre made fabric gift bags like these from Etsy. Or if you are better at sewing than me you could have a go at making your own.
Or have you heard of Furoshiki, a Japanese wrapping tradition using fabric cloths that are made to be reused. I have tried it with fabric offcuts and it works well. You could also include a note with the gift with instructions on how to reuse the fabric.
You can also wrap your presents in fabric in the traditional way, just use your paper discs to stick it together or tie it with some ribbon.
Keep hold of any gift bags and then reuse them. It’s become a standing joke in my family that the gift bags get passed around with lots of, “Ooh what a lovely gift bag this is”.
You can also use old jars to gift homemade products in. Think sloe gin, baked cookies or fudge. Just add a ribbon or brown paper label, some twine or foraged items and they look magical.
Finally, don’t forget those free papers you get posted through your letter box. They make surprisingly beautiful wrapping paper. Just check the headlines first.