Eco-friendly wrapping

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Reduce your impact on the environment this festive season, by adopting alternative methods of wrapping, you can go a long way toward being more sustainable at this consumption-heavy time of year.

The holiday period generates some of the highest waste of any time of year. A lot of this is generated by packaging, which often includes single-use plastics and mixed-media materials that can’t easily be recycled.

This leaves a lot of scope to make improvements. Most notably, by cutting out plastic packaging wherever possible. Choose gifts which are packed in sustainable materials. Try to avoid plastic gifts where possible. And, of course, choose your own wrapping so it is sustainable.


#1. Ditch the plastic tape

Did you know that in the UK alone, more than one million rolls of plastic tape is used to wrap presents on Christmas Eve?

It’s a staggering amount of plastic waste. Plus, the use of plastic tape makes recycling the wrapping paper much more difficult than it needs to be. Instead, you can use twine, ribbon or string. Not only can this be easily reused, it’s also biodegradable – so it’s a much better choice.


#2. Reuse the packaging your presents arrived in

With so much of our holiday shopping taking place online, we all have spare boxes lying around. Don’t throw this! Hold onto it so you can pack your presents in a highly sustainable way.


#3. Try to use reusable packaging where possible

If your gift recipients care about sustainability, you can try wrapping their presents using different materials. For example, you can wrap presents in fabric squares which can then be reused next year. Tins and hampers are also great for packaging gifts if you’re certain your gift recipient will reuse them. Or you could wrap the present in a reusable tote pack – so it is super convenient for reuse.

Note that this strategy works best when you know the person whom you’re gifting will reuse the packaging. Otherwise, you will be using up more resources for a single-use wrapping.


#4. Don’t buy gift tags

Gift tags often include plastic, foil or other detailing which means they can’t be recycled. Plus, they are usually sold in plastic. Avoid this plastic waste by creating your own gift tags this year. If you can, cutting up the faces of last year’s Christmas cards is the perfect solution.

However, if you haven’t saved last year’s cards, you can make your own from leftover e-commerce packaging. Cut out carboard shapes and decorate the front of them with stamps using biodegradable inks. Or decorate the front with washi tape, which is also biodegradable.


#5. Decorate with natural materials

Don’t add tinsel or plastic décor to your parcels. Instead, forage outside for sustainable (and free!) natural decorations. Holly sprigs, sections of fir and pine branches, eucalyptus leaves, fir cones and dried flower heads like thistles or docks make for wonderful seasonal detailing. Also, you can do you own Christmas decorations in paper. Tailor-made to you imagination, in the end you can save them for next year’s or recycle them.


What next?

You can find other seasonal ideas on our blog: