All those beautifully wrapped presents under the tree – we all strive for that perfection, don’t we? But is that one minute of wrapping paper ecstasy worth throwing it all in the trash and sending it to landfill?
But it’s recycled I hear you say!
Recycling has long been a way to make ourselves feel better about our waste here in Australia, but the truth is that you can never recoup the resources that have to go into creating the product in the first place. Wrapping paper creation begins with paper which is produced in mills from wood pulp, special inks and finishes are applied and then the whole roll is shrink wrapped in plastic which never really breaks down (you can read about microplastics here)
It’s difficult to avoid wrapping paper completely given your relatives and friends will likely be further back on the sustainability journey than you, but demonstrating your amazing eco-friendly wrapping skills by creating your own eco-friendly, waste less wrapping this Christmas will start a trend for next Christmas! Here are some ways you can wrap gifts without the traditional single-use wrapping paper methods.
Re-useable gift sacks
If you’ve got a sewing machine, you can make your own re-useable gift sacks using old sheets, scrap fabric or even old clothes. Op shops are filled with left over fabric scraps that people have donated, and you might even find some Christmas prints. Even if you use new fabric, you will be able to reuse these sacks for years to come.
If you’re not into sewing, you can purchase gift sacks or Christmas pillowcases for reasonably cheap which can be reused every year.Invest now and stop throwing out that beautiful paper!
Tea Towels or Sarongs
Using a present to wrap a present is a great way to avoid the single-use trap. Giving a tea towel or sarong which can wrap the gift and be tied up with some rattan or kitchen string with a lovely pine cone gift tag is a nice way to avoid using paper.
Hand Painted Newspaper
If you’re like us, you receive the local rag (paper) to your door every month or so. Rather than throwing it in the recycling bin, why not save it and use it to wrap a gift? Kids will love spreading paint over the paper and seeing their creations under the tree ready to gift to family and friends. Here’s a few pics of us creating our masterpieces!
Japanese wrapping technique
Furoshiki is a Japanese tradition of wrapping things in in fabric and is a great way to tackle that Christmas paper usage issue! 1Million Women have a fantastic post on this wrapping technique and the materials you will need to get it started – but think old scarves, bed sheets or clothing purchased from the op shop.
Reuse Reuse Reuse!
Save wrapping paper, save the plastic coloured cellophane from around flowers you are given, save old sheets, carefully unwrap presents you are given, fold up gift bags and store them for next use. The less you have to buy, the less it costs you and the better for the planet. Utilising reuseable shopping bags is another great way to wrap gifts as the recipient will then be able to use them for their next shopping trip – win win!
However you wish to wrap your presents, conscious consuming is the best way to go this Christmas. Think ‘do I need this’ or can I do it another way. And remember, progress, not perfection – start where you are and aim to improve.