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6 Eco-Friendly Wrapping Paper Ideas for Your Holiday Gifts

Wrapping paper can be wasteful. Instead, try these eco-friendly wrapping paper ideas that keep the planet in mind.

Written by
Giulia Lallas

25 million tons of garbage. That’s how much more waste is thrown away between Thanksgiving and New Year's compared to the rest of the year. While there are plenty of things you can do to reduce that number, opting for eco-friendly wrapping paper is a great place to start.

Wrapping paper isn't always recyclable, and a lot of it goes straight into the trash. Instead of buying roll upon roll this holiday season, opt for eco-friendly wrapping paper ideas that do the planet good. According to Stanford University, if every family wrapped just three presents in reused materials, it would save enough to cover 45,000 football fields.

If you're looking for eco-friendly wrapping paper ideas to cut back on trash, we have some sustainable options to get you started. Better yet, they're not just great for the holidays—use them for other gifting occasions like birthdays, baby showers, and anniversaries, too.

6 Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas

1. Use Scarves or Decorative Cloths

Using an old or thrifted scarf can often be a lifesaver when it comes to making your gift wrapping pretty and eco-friendly on a budget. Not to mention, reusing something you already have—or buying secondhand—has a positive impact on the environment.

If you want a store-bought option, opt for reusable cloth wrapping paper. It can be used for years to come, and there are so many fun designs to choose from.

2. Use a Mason Jar

Instead of using wrapping paper, simply put your gift inside a Mason jar. There are numerous ways you can DIY the outside to make it look festive. You can paint it, add some of the fun stickers you have lying around—the options are endless. Plus, they can reuse the jar afterward as an artsy cup or propagation vessel for their plants.

3. Have Fun with Newspaper

Newspapers make great wrapping paper. Not only are they recyclable, but they're also a great way to make gifts more personalized. For instance, if the gift receiver loves a good laugh, choose the comics section. Or if you notice an article that reminds you of them, have that be the centerpiece.

4. Put Your Gift in a Reusable Tote

You likely have a handful of extra cotton totes lying around, so why not use some as eco-friendly wrapping paper? Aside from keeping the gift a surprise, it can help your gift receiver drop the plastic bags and shop more sustainably. Instead of sitting under your sink collecting dust, you'll basically giving a gift within a gift.

5. Support Small Businesses and Their Wrapping Materials

Instead of buying rolls of wrapping paper at big-box stores, buy sustainable alternatives from small, local businesses. Many of these businesses have handmade versions—options they stamp or decorate themselves. These options are more unique than what you'll find elsewhere, and you're supporting small shops in your area by buying them.

6. Get Creative with Plain Kraft Paper

Brown kraft paper is an awesome eco-friendly option for the creative people out there who love drawing and customizing their own wrapping paper. You can even add some ribbon or small pine branches to it from a tree in your neighborhood for an extra pop of color and beauty.