Wrapping paper looks pretty under the tree—there’s no denying that. Unfortunately, it’s not so pretty for the planet.
Americans spend billions of dollars on wrapping paper every year. Because not all wrapping paper can be recycled after opening presents, it’s estimated that 2.3 million pounds end up in landfills every year.
Instead of using roll after roll of wrapping paper this holiday season, opt for a sustainable solution: furoshiki.
Furoshiki are traditional Japanese wrapping cloths. They’ve been used for over 1,200 years and were originally decorated so that people who attended Japanese bathhouses could keep track of their belongings. Each wrap was decorated with a unique pattern or a family crest so people knew which belongings were theirs.
Furoshiki were naturally most popular in Japan, since that’s where the wraps originated. But in recent years, as people have become more concerned about sustainability, the wraps have become popular in the West. And, it’s easy to see why people are making the switch.
Wrapping paper has a seriously short life: It’s meant to be ripped to shreds in a matter of minutes to reveal an amazing gift inside. But because it’s a single-use product, it comes with a big carbon footprint. Those millions of pounds of wrapping paper that wind up in landfills emit greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.
Aside from furoshiki being a beautiful zero-waste alternative to wrapping paper, they could also last you a lifetime. A single furoshiki can be used in countless ways (holidays, birthdays, baby showers, and beyond!), making it endlessly sustainable and ideal for anyone looking to cut down on holiday waste. Here are three options to try.
Furoshiki for Zero-Waste Gift Wrapping
This 100% cotton wrap features original artwork by Buenos Aires-based artist Vivi Maidanik.
This 28″ by 28″ medium-sized cotton wrap is perfect for wrapping gifts around the size of a shoecase.
Need a wrap for large gifts? This option will do the trick. Better yet, each of these wraps are machine washable.
Furoshiki Gift Wrapping Technique
There are many different furoshiki gift wrapping techniques, but this beginner-friendly method only takes seconds to master. Here’s how to do it, step by step.
1. Lay the wrap on a flat surface.
2. Place the object in the middle.
3. Bring one set of opposite corners to the center. Create a simple knot.
4. Repeat with the remaining corners. That’s it!
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