Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping That Isn’t Boring AF

Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping That Isn’t Boring AF
4 Minute Read.

Below is my collection of wrapping paper that I’ve accumulated over the years. I didn’t buy 99% of it; instead, it came from gifts received that I couldn’t bring myself to throw out. I even [not so] shamefully keep tissue paper that has been torn because I figure, it could be used for something…right???


Image of several types of wrapping paper and supplies

“Over the holidays, about 227,000 miles worth of wrapping paper get thrown away. [That’s] enough to circle the world 9 times” and equates to 4 million tons of waste.

– Clean Air Council

You can change this statistic by wrapping your gifts in reusables and avoiding mainstream (and totally forgettable) wrapping materials.

Here are My Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas:

Use what you got.

I fished these pants out of the trash in my apartment. Just a few safety pins, and we’ve got some festive reusable gift wrap.

Images of an eco friendly gift wrapping alternative - gift wrap made out of old colorful pants with stripes on them

Old newspapers, magazines and craft paper are other great resources. You can even tailor the content printed on the paper to the person receiving the gift. I can already think of a few New Yorker illustrations that would be perfect for some of the people on my list. Get creative. Have fun with it.

Turning pants into gift wrap

 Cloth Bags. They’re not just for groceries.

Cloth bags are probably the easiest way to wrap gifts. Simply open it up, drop it in, and you’re done.

Amazon has a bunch of burlap and organic cotton options (smallmedium, large). You can even get a variety pack with several sizes (**the variety pack is actually marketed for produce bags, but living sustainably is about having items that are multifunctional, and this is a perfect example of where that can apply). For something a little more “festive”, you can get Christmas-themed gift sacks, which are especially useful for gargantuan gifts.


Furoshiki is a Japanese wrapping technique. It’s an infinitely reusable way to wrap gifts, and it sure beats having a dispute with the tape dispenser. You can use cloth napkins, silk scarves, or fabric from a local store. You can even buy furoshiki wrapping cloths online. If you’re feeling intimidated by the name…you’re not alone…I felt the same way. Rest assured, the name sounds a lot more intense than the actual process. I got the hang of it by watching a few videos by Live Green, who is a total sensai in furoshiki. Below are my attempts using a cloth napkin.


Images of the Furoshiki wrapping technique - eco friendly gift wrapping without the waste

These reusable options can easily be tucked into storage when not in use . . . or used for a different purpose throughout the year (e.g. produce bags, napkins, etc).

Furoshiki Japanese Technique

If you’re a diehard wrapping-paper-enthusiast, let’s at least do it responsibly. 

How about gift wrap that’s made from recycled paper? It’s not as festive as typical gift wrap, but it gets the job done and costs the same. If that doesn’t cut it, I have one last option for you: Wrappily offers colorful, holiday-inspired gift wrap that looks and feels like the wrapping paper of your dreams. It’s pricier, but is printed on 100% recyclable and compostable newsprint. Why is this important? Most wrapping paper is actually not recyclable because “it’s either dyed, laminated, or contains non-paper additives” (click here to learn more).
Image of Holiday Wrapping Paper with Christmas trees on a hill covered in snow

What about tape?

Scotch tape is made of cellophane, which can only break down in an incinerator.

Here are some plastic-free alternatives that are biodegradable and are free of toxic additives.

Cellulose Tape

Made from natural fibres • Comparable to scotch tape
Easily torn by hand • Made in the USA • Biodegradable

Gummed Paper Tape

Get it Online »

Image of Gummed Paper Tape
Much stronger than masking tape • Recyclable & Biodegradable • Sticky side is water-activated

Even utilizing one of these eco friendly gift wrapping options can significantly lower your holiday waste. Just think…if everyone did it, it could have a HUGE impact.
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