We're sure we're not alone in recalling the cleanup from last year's holiday gift exchange: an embarrassingly large amount of bags full of crumpled gift wrap. This year, we're trying something different, and thankfully there are plenty of eco-friendly ways to wrap gifts!Reusable Gift Bags:
- Many companies are now offering reusable bags or sacks to be used instead of wrapping paper.
- WrapSacks adds something special, by including a tracking number allowing you to see where the bag has been and where it goes.
- Patagonia also has great gift bags made from leftover fabric but you'll have to call them to get them.
- Make your own out of fabric scraps or old flannel sheets. Chewing the Cud also has beautiful reusable fabric wraps for gift wrapping.
- Now that reusable shopping bags are everywhere, choose a nice one from your favorite food coop and gift it.
Recycled Aluminum as Wrapping Paper: It's shiny, recycled, and after the package is opened, you could use it to bbq.
Outdated or Surplus Maps: My mom has a drawer full of old maps from family trips taken when I was young. With the advent of GPS, paper maps are becoming less necessary so I wouldn't feel too bad turning these into gift wrap and show someone where you've been!
The Wrap is a Gift: Giving a scarf, blanket or towel? Use it to wrap another gift and tie with a piece of hemp or twine.
Brown Paper Bags: Turned inside out, a paper bag makes a great wrapping material.
Newspaper / Funnies: Ever since I can remember, my grandma has used the comics to wrap our presents!
Green Package Padding: Our friends recently bought a paper shredder which is perfect for creating padding for packages from junk mail. I wouldn't recommend buying one for this purpose alone, but chances are you know someone with one or have one at work.
Re-Purposed Gift Bags: The bags that new sheets come in, burlap sacks from rice, or the plastic ones from citrus - find a new use for what otherwise might be thrown away.
Eco Gift Paper: If you must abide by tradition and use gift paper, here are some green choices:
- Banana fiber paper made from wasted bark from banana production.
- Recycled Wrapping Paper printed using soy-based inks.
- Flower Seed holiday wrapping paper from Real Goods, biodegradable and ready to plant.
With help from Gaiam.com
(Image: Fabric gift wrap from Chewing the Cud)
Originally published 2008-12-01 - CB