The cost of living and climate change – two of the hottest (or coldest as we have turned the heating down…) topics right now.
We’re all trying to live on a budget whilst also saving the planet, so what can we do this Christmas?
According to Less Waste, ‘Household waste typically increases by around 30% during the festive period, making it one of the most wasteful times of the year.’
The majority of wrapping papers and tissue papers can not be recycled, including plastic laminated papers and those that use metallic foils and glitter. Along with plastic tape, the discarded wrapping has no other place to end up than in landfill. Sad times.
However, there are a lot of eco-friendly ways to wrap gifts that are actually cheaper, or even free! Here are some environmentally conscious ideas and tips for creating great looking gifts that can also save you money. Everything is either compostable, recyclable or reusable.
1. Get crafty with brown paper
This is probably the most straight forward eco-friendly wrapping idea and is great when you have a lot of wrapping to do. Getting a large roll of recycled brown paper allows you to wrap a variety of different gift shapes and sizes at a low cost.
Brown recycled craft paper can often be composted or added to your recycling bin so is a much better choice than traditional wrapping paper.
Using colourful paper tapes can be a great way of decorating your gifts. Check out our festive range of washi tapes that have been printed with soy based inks, making them fully compostable!
Or you can turn gift wrapping into a fun activity to do with your kids by using stamps and soy inks or beeswax crayons to decorate the brown paper. Using these inks and crayons means the paper can be composted after!
2. Using household recycled papers
Recycling old household papers such as newspapers and magazines is a really eco-friendly and cost effective idea for wrapping gifts.
You can also make a gift personal to the person receiving the gift - What about using pages from old books for the ones who love reading? How about old music paper for the music lovers in your lives? Or old maps for the ones who love the outdoors and adventure?
If you’ve been doing some home improvements recently you may even have some wall paper off cuts lying around – these create really luxurious feeling gifts, especially if the paper is textured or embossed!
As well as using the paper to wrap gifts, you could also make some pretty amazing gift decorations like these magazine bows.
See what you have lying around the house and get creative!
3. Opting for consciously printed
If you’re after something a bit more finished and colourful, you can buy some beautiful papers that have been printed using environmentally friendly inks on recycled paper.
Our range of eco wrapping papers are printed on a lovely textured 100% recycled paper using vegan, vegetable based inks. This means they are biodegradable and fully recyclable! It is also a carbon-zero product meaning all of the carbon generated during the production of our papers is offset by the planting of forests and woodlands in association with Carbon Footprint.
These look lovely finished with twine or yarn which are a great eco-friendly option as they are made from natural materials, making them biodegradable. They can also be easily kept and reused for years to come.
4. Furoshiki and fabric wrapping
This is a really lovely eco-friendly way of wrapping up gifts. Plus its zero waste as the person receiving the gift can then reuse the fabric/bag for more gift giving!
Furoshiki is a Japanese technique that involves wrapping gifts using cloth and fabric instead of wrapping paper. Small businesses such as Furoshiki Wrap Company sell these gorgeous wraps and share tutorials of how to use them to wrap your gifts.
Another small company crafting beautiful textile gift wrap options is Paper & Wool who create these gorgeous reusable, personalised crackers which are perfect for small gifts such as cosmetics and jewellery.
You could even have a go at making your own gift bags using old clothes by following an online tutorial!
5. Upcycle your recycling!
In the lead up to Christmas, start saving up a collection of containers and packaging that you can reuse for gift wrapping. For example, old glass jars like jam jars and baby food jars are perfect for holding small gifts such as jewellery or edible treats!
6. Decorate with nature
Adding a touch of nature to your gift wrapping is cheap, very eco-friendly and it looks beautiful. You can collect natural foliage from your garden or while out on a walk; holly, fir tree, pine cones, berries and mistletoe all grow wildly and add a lovely festive feel.
Alternatively, you could have a go at drying out your own fruits such as orange, pear and apple slices which work really well with sticks of cinnamon as a present topper.
Using sprigs of herbs (homegrown – even better!) such as rosemary of thyme also look great secured onto the tops of gift using twine, they also make your presents smell great!
The best part about using natural decoration is that it biodegrades and can therefore go straight in the compost bin after use!
7. DIY gift tags
A cheap and crafty way of creating your own gift tags is to reuse last year’s Christmas cards! You can cut the fronts into different shapes, what about trying letters as a way to personalise them!
I have memories of helping my mum wrap the Christmas presents and it would always be my job to pick out the best cards and use my zig-zag scissors to cut out shapes and make new tags.
8. Grant your gift wrap a second life
As kids, we always used to laugh at my dad for unwrapping his gifts so carefully and neatly so he could keep and save the paper to be reused again – whilst we were ripping our way into our presents. But now, I completely agree with his mentality!
It’s also really eco-friendly and cheaper to keep paper, bottle bags, gift bags, ribbons, twine etc in a small draw or box at home so you can reuse them for gift wrapping in the future.
Or why not reuse your lovely paper to create something for your home? This design blog has some beautiful inspiration for creating stylish storage boxes using left over wrapping paper.
That’s a wrap…
There are many ways you can make your gifts look beautiful on a budget and whilst being conscious about your environment. Remembering to reduce, reuse and recycle where you can not only makes your pennies go further but it also helps in our battle with climate change.
Thanks for reading!