10 Unique and Eco-friendly Ways to Wrap Presents

Written by Urban Sherp on December 15th, 2009

eco-friendly_wrapping_paperOh this is one of those embarrassing moments, when my friends would say I am such a crunchy hippie, not that there is anything wrong with that, but I digress…. I hate using new wrapping paper, I just think it is an absolute waste.  I honestly cannot remember the last time I bought wrapping paper, bows, gift bags, tags or ribbon. I somehow always manage to make do with salvaged wrapping paper from birthdays or holidays, tissue paper from shopping when I wasn’t quick enough to tell the clerk ‘no paper please…’  Friends and family have likely come to expect to see the same paper over and over again along with a few imperfections, but that adds character, right? It is actually kind of fun to see what you can create with what you have got.

I’ve been known to:

1. Take cardboard boxes, cereal boxes or paper bags and cut them up in 1X2″ rectangles – then get out my letter stamps and pine tree stamp to “spruce” them up – they make great looking tags.

2. Wrap gifts up in reusable bags and tie with ribbon salvaged from holidays, birthdays, etc.

3. Use paper salvaged from shipping to wrap up gifts, if the nieces are around I’ll have them decorate the paper if not….  brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things…..

4. Take a saved shopping bag from a department store and decorate the store label with paper appliques, fill with recycled colored tissue paper to match.

5. Collect all the paper post holidays, meticulously remove the tape and flatten the sheets out, then roll them up around a wrapping paper roll to be reused next year–makes like so much easier as I usually have ‘right-sized’ pieces for next year – we even reuse the tags so some tags will read:

holiday tag

6. Every year my godmother takes scraps of fabric and sews them up to fit each gift – I’ve got a collection of these bags now that I reserve for friends and family who I know will reuse them.

7. Skip the wrapping altogether use a basket instead found at the Fair Trade 10 Thousand Villages down the street or a gem from the Goodwill or Salvation Army.

8. Or as my grandmother used to do, she would take boxes and wrap the base and the lid in paper and then reuse the wrap box sets year after year.

9. For birthdays, I like to use old, outdated maps that I’ve found – those make great wrap for boxes too – and often can find a map that has a connection to the gift recipient, ie where we went to camp together, where they are from, where they are going…..

10. And I hate wasting money or paper on tags. Another great idea for cheap and easy tags – cut up old Christmas cards, cut out the greetings the images or just the holiday colors (I’ll cut out trees, snowmen and stars for tags).

And I owe all of this to my mom, she is the master of reusing! We’ve got some favorite pieces of wrapping paper from years past – the penguins, the Charlie Brown Paper, nice to see these again and again…..

Not ready to go all out with recycled wrapping? Check out the the Cliff Bar bow. Terracyle, the ultimate recyclers, are selling a cool looking bow made of recycled Cliff Bar wrappers.

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