Zero waste christmas gift wrap

Jingle all the way to Zero Waste Gift Wrapping

One of my favourite things to do at Christmas time is wrap all of the gifts I have bought for my loved ones. Ever since I was young, I remember this always being an exciting time for me because I just love giving gifts to people.

Christmas time is also a time of year when a tonne of waste is created. Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. I imagine this number to be similar in other  countries too such as Australia and the UK/Europe.

Sadly, I won’t be giving gifts to anyone this year as I’m traveling. If I was however, I would be trying to find the most zero waste way of wrapping the gifts I could find.


Zero Waste Gift Wrapping Ideas


Here are some ideas for wrapping your gifts beautifully using materials that are reusable, recyclable and compostable.

1. The Wrapping Material

Although wrapping paper is the most conventional way to wrap a gift, it is not always the most environmentally friendly. Not all wrapping papers can be recycled, some of them are covered in glitter or have plastic laminate on their surface. And a lot of the time, people rip open the paper to get to the present, rendering it un-reusable.

Instead of regular wrapping paper, why not try –

  • Newspaper – last year, I painted newspaper and used it to wrap all my gifts.
  • Old magazines – either using whole pages or you could make a collage gift wrap.
  • Fabric, old or new and that which can be reused – you could use twine to hold it in place or the Japanese Furoshiki folding technique.


Furoshiki wrapping technique


  • If you like sewing, make some reusable gift bags – these can then be reused by the recipient.
  • If it will fit, put it in a mason jar – this way the wrapping will also be a gift.
  • No wrapping at all – I know this is uncustomary and it’s always great to watch your loved one open their present but instead of wrapping you could decorate the gift with some of the ideas below.

2. The Sticky Tape

Or something that is not sticky tape at all. It’s common knowledge that regular plastic sticky tape is not recyclable.

Instead of regular sticky tape, why not try –

  • Water activated paper tape – the majority of paper tapes are completely biodegradable, recyclable and repulpable.
  • Natural string – for example butcher’s twine or wool.


Tapeless wrapping


  • Tapeless wrapping – this technique works well with square or rectangular items but can also be used on other shaped items in conjunction with string.

3. The Decoration

As with wrapping paper, a lot of decorations come covered in glitter or plastic and are therefore unrecyclable but possibly reusable if you remember to keep them for the next year. This is where you can get really imaginative and a lot of the time, you need go no further than your garden!

Instead of regular bows and ribbons, why not try –

  • Make your own bows out of recycled magazines/junk mail – check out @plasticpollutes on Instagram for this great idea.


Recycled gift bows


  • Use fabric ribbon instead of plastic ribbon
  • Pick fresh flowers and leaves to decorate your gifts – my personal favourite
  • Don’t use extra decoration, just make some really cool wrapping paper out of newspaper and your personal paintings. Remember potato stamps from your childhood?!

4. The Card

So, I’ll be honest. I stopped giving store bought cards years ago. I found them to be a waste of money and paper. I’m actually quite happy to just write the name of the person I’m giving the gift to on the actual wrapping paper (very unfestive, I know).

However, I do love making my own cards for people. To me, these are much more personal than a Halmark poem and I can get really creative with them (let it be known that my drawing skills equate to that of about a four year old’s but I don’t let that deter me from putting my ingenious creations onto paper!).

So my suggestions here would be to make your own cards and/or name tags (if you have time) or be a lazybum like me and just write their name on the wrapping paper.


Mum's garden christmas gift flowers
Some of the flowers in Mum’s garden that looked great decorating Christmas gifts last year.


It doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare zero waste Christmas gift wrap. It can be simple or elaborate but it will always look so much better because it will have your personal touch to it. And the environment will thank you for your efforts!

Happy wrapping!

Love Kat xx


Leave a Reply