Each year in the UK 227,000 miles of wrapping paper are put into the bin instead of being recycled, that's enough to circle the equator 9 times[1]. And though quite a lot of wrapping paper is recyclable (try the scrunch test), a lot of it isn't, especially if it's sparkly or glittery. Plus it's usually paired with plastic ribbon, bows, and gift bags all of which help contribute to us producing 30% more waste this time of year.

So today I give you four different ways that you can wrap with less waste this Christmas and contribute to a more sustainable festive season. Also useful for any Birthday wrapping, or other gift wrapping needs.

I'm super happy this year that I managed to get most of my gifts second hand! There's something so much more relaxing about Christmas shopping in small charity shops compared to huge stores in city centres.
Brown Paper
You'll need: Brown Paper, Eco Paper Tape, Scissors, Stuff to decorate your present, the present.

Brown paper is definitely recyclable, and unlike even recycled and recyclable decorated paper it doesn't need to be bleached or dyed in order to make and so it's a pretty eco option! Adding some biodegradable paper tape to the mix ensures you don't have to pick off every piece of tape before putting it in the recycling.

To decorate my presents I've used fabric scraps that my local charity shop was selling 4 for 49p, but other options include using twigs and leaves from the garden, potato printing using water based inks and paints, paper crafts, twine, and much more! Get creative and see ways you can do this plastic free or second hand! I also used old Christmas cards cut into tags and tied with twine in order to identify each present.

As for gift bags, I used brown paper bags and decorated these with shapes from magazine cuttings for a fun and recycled look.

This option is cheap, accessible, and you can have some creative fun with it! Though it does produce some waste the paper can be used again or easily recycled. You can also buy recycled, recyclable wrapping paper if you wanted something more colourful!
Magazines / Newspapers
You'll need: Old magazines or newspapers, tape, stuff to decorate with, the present

Next up we have a recycled option. Most people have old magazines and newspapers lying around their houses so why not put them to good use by using them as gift wrap? You can pick pretty pages or draw and decorate them to make them festive and fun.

Again here I used some old fabric and an old card made into a gift tag to wrap around. I've also seen people using old newspapers to make gift bags out of so that's always an option.

The great thing about this is it's a basically free method, and it gives your old magazines a second life before they end up recycled.
You'll need: A Scarf, the present
This is my favourite option, and one my mum has been using for Birthday gifts this year. Using scarves to wrap presents. You can wrap a present in a present! All you have to do is wrap the scarf around the present and make sure it's secure, nothing else needed (unless you want to add something else).

Plus even if the person you're gifting doesn't want to wear the scarf they can then go on to use it to wrap future presents making it a very circular and zero waste affair. Charity shops usually have an abundance of scarves this time of year for a couple of quid each, just make sure you give them a wash before wrapping with them.

Furoshiki / Fabric
You'll need: Square Fabric, the present
Furoshiki is a Japanese cloth commonly used to wrap up lunch boxes, but I've seen it being used all over the place for Christmas gift wrapping, with classes on how to do it! The type of wrapping and tying you do depends on the shape of the object and it's secure without needing anything apart from a square piece of fabric.

Of course you can wrap with fabric without using Furoshiki which means reusable wrapping, but it does look really pretty! There are even places selling eco Christmas wrapping cloths (or just general ones). Just make sure you keep using them in order to make them more sustainable than throw away paper.

The nice thing about a lot of this stuff is you don't need to spend much (or anything) and you don't need to buy anything specifically gimmicky or Christmassy. You can if you want to but there's no pressure!

Other ideas for keeping your wrapping and sending of presents as low waste as possible include keeping boxes from deliveries to send/wrap your own gifts in, keeping old gift wrap to use again, and if you want even more ideas then you should check out The Welsh Wanderer's guide on this too!

Let me know how you're planning to wrap your presents this year! You can view more of my sustainable Christmas guide for the year below and I hope you have a wonderful and eco conscious holiday season!

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