This probably won’t come as a surprise, but we are not very good at sustainable Christmas wrapping paper in the UK. In fact, we throw away enough rolls of wrapping paper to circle the globe a staggering nine times every Christmas.
But, who doesn’t love the anticipation of Christmas gifts under the Christmas tree? And the excitement of unwrapping a present? There has to be a better way. Well there’s not. There are many better options for beautifully wrapped presents.
Here are some easy eco-friendly Christmas gift wrap options to consider…
Sustainable Christmas wrapping paper and cards: the basics
As a first step, avoid shiny metallic wrapping paper and gift wrap with glitter (sorry!). But, it can’t be recycled. The same goes for Christmas cards. The simple ‘scrunch test’ determines whether paper can be recycled; if it holds its shape when scrunched then it is recyclable. If paper springs back, it is not.
Understated brown paper makes for stylish statement wrapping, this year. For an even more on-trend festive feel decorate with twine, dried orange slices and cinnamon. Simply put slices of orange on a cooling rack in the oven at about 120C for a few hours.
If you’re looking for something brighter, you can find wrapping paper made 100% recycled unbleached paper with vegetable inks from £1.75 per sheet on re-wrapped.co.uk.
Also, handmade paper with strong eco credentials starts from around £3 a sheet on happywrap.co.uk.
Fabric gift wrap: Furoshiki
Happywrap also sells re-useable fabric for gift-wrapping. There are two key rules to buying this, from a sustainability point of view.
One, buy organic or sustainable materials that have been dyed with non-toxic dyes.
Two, impress on the person that you’re giving it to that it needs to be used again. And then again, by the next recipient. A bit like the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (I’ve never this, but hope the reference works). Otherwise, it has taken more energy and resources to create and is hardly better than wrapping the present in single-use plastic.
The art-form of wrapping gifts in fabric is known as Furoshiki.
Search for #Furoshiki on Instagram or Youtube and you will discover the beauty of the ancient Japanese tradition of wrapping gifts in fabric – anything from scarves to pillowcases.
Another good idea is to buy some (organic cotton) tea-towels. These can be a great shape for wrapping and are useful, too.
Ethical Christmas wrapping: DIY
Douglas McMaster, head chef of London’s zero-waste restaurant, Silo, says: “Not buying new wrapping paper forces creativity and that’s a wonderful thing.”
Yesterday’s newspaper isn’t only good for chip-shop chips.
Both McMaster and eco-chef Tom Hunt collect images from newspapers, and use butchers twine rather than sellotape. Add a sprig of green for a festive touch.
But choose your images and text carefully…
Eco Boost‘s Kate Arnell’s mum once wrapped her gift in a headline that said: “I’d rather have £250 than spend Christmas with the family”.
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Main image: #Furoshiki by @Lushacker, Instagram