Zero waste gift wrapping this holiday season

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Did you know that 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper are produced every year within the United States? This equates to roughly 50,000 trees. Yikes!

Want to know another fact? Most of it ends up in the landfill.

It’s a real shame that wrapping paper generates an immense amount of waste to only then get torn into shreds in a matter of 60 seconds.

Although wrapping paper may give off the ‘recyclable vibe’ because it has the word ‘paper’ in it, it is trash.

No matter if it has glitter or glue on it, most wrapping paper has a plastic lining on both sides. That is what gives it the ‘smooth’ feeling and shiny/glossy look to it.⠀

At Waste Free Earth, we know that it is sometimes hard to incorporate sustainable practices. Below we have listed some tips within our Good-Better-Best model for a smooth and slow adoption of zero waste living. This allows us to meet you where you are at on your zero waste journey while still making a positive impact. Now let’s get you on your way to a zero waste Christmas!


Reusable Scarves & Fabric

As we mentioned above, it turns out wrapping paper that is metallic, has glitter on it, or is textured, is not recyclable. So what’s another festive way to wrap your gifts? You can wrap them in scarves or fabric that you already have or have bought from a secondhand store.

Make sure that whoever you are wrapping gifts for, will actually use the fabric or scraves. If they won’t, although reusable, the fabric may end up in the landfill or in their closet. Which defeats the purpose of reusable gift wrapping.


Upcycled newspaper and other paper packaging

Use recyclable material that you already have like old newspapers or old paper packaging from online stores. This is useful because the newspaper you may have read this morning now has a second use and can still be recycled.

For the gifts pictured above, we used old tissue paper from a gift we received two years ago. We held on to it since we knew there would be a use for it eventually… AKA the life of a zero waster. Instead of a bow, which is also not recyclable, we made dehydrated citrus slices, making this ‘bow’ fully compostable. In replace of tape, we used twine that can either be reused or composted. This gift is 100% compostable.

If you aren’t using twine, make sure you use paper tape rather than plastic tape. This helps ensures that your material will actually get recycled composted.


No wrapping paper

The best zero waste option for wrapping gifts is to not wrap them at all! You might be thinking, but doesn’t that take the fun away from your loved ones not knowing what you are gifting them? Nope!

You can make a fun game out of it! Take the gifts and hide them around the house. This can work as a scavenger hunt or mystery hunt, whichever you prefer! Give your loved one’s clues on where they can find them, or let them go off on themselves.

This is great because it adds another fun element to gift-giving without any additional waste. You can even say that Santa created the game.

What is your favorite way to wrap presents without creating waste?

Written by Marina McCoy & Kate Hoffman

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