Eco-friendly & Sustainable Wrapping to Reduce Waste this Festive Season

Are you looking for ways to have a more eco-friendly or sustainable Christmas?

The festive holidays would not be the same without beautifully wrapped presents tucked under the tree, but most of the festive wrapping used cannot be recycled, contributing to our climate crisis and polluting our oceans.

Over the festive season in the UK, Brits on average go through 108 million rolls of wrapping paper, enough to go to the moon or around the world around 20 times!

In America, people throw out 1 million tons of extra waste per week - most of this is single-use gift wrapping.

With only 4 weeks to go, now is the time to think about ditching traditional Christmas wrapping and opt for more eco-friendly options to cut down on the environmental impact Christmas has every year.

So, what can you do to reduce your waste this festive season?


The Wrapping Part

Reuse Old Wrapping & Gift Bags

Before you get some eco-friendly wrapping, take a look around the house for any old wrapping or gift bags you may have from birthdays or last year's festive season. It is always better to reuse them than just throw them out, so if you receive any this year hold onto them for 2022!

Use Paper Shopping Bags

If you have any paper bags given to you when shopping, you can cut them up and wrap the gifts in them. If you want, you can also decorate them with fancy handwriting, create your own stamps, or cut an extra piece of cardboard for a small gift tag to add that “festive touch”.

Use Old Newspapers

Most people have old newspapers hanging around the house, and if not, make a trip to your grandparents, they are bound to have some sat on the side of their coffee table. Newspapers are 100% recyclable making them a great alternative to plastic wrapping paper.

Reuse Cardboard Shipping/Delivery Boxes

When you get any deliveries in cardboard boxes, instead of putting them in the recycling bin, hang onto them and use them under the tree this year! You can even use them to make hamper-style gifts for your friends and family.

Use Old Fabric

If you were going to throw out last season's clothes anyway, why not cut it up and wrap your festive gifts in it this year!

Search Around the House

As a last resort, search around your house for any “bits and bobs” you may have, you will be surprised at what you will find!


The Taping Part

Use Biodegradable Tape or Completely Ditch the Tape

We all know someone that always goes overboard on the plastic tape when wrapping gifts…

As an alternative this year, one option is to buy biodegradable tape. Or if you want to be a true “eco-warrior” you can fold your wrapping using the “Japan wrapping technique” so you do not need to use anything.

Use Compostable Yarn to Tie Your Presents

Natural fibres, such as jute, hemp or cotton, are usually biodegradable because of their natural, cellulose-based origin. They come in a wide range of colours, making yarn a fantastic alternative to plastic tape that people can recycle, put in their compost bin, or reuse.


The Decoration Part

Go Foraging!

Grab your wellington boots and head outside for a forage. Using natural touches like leaves and flowers on top of festive gifts makes them look pretty and is the most sustainable option when it comes to decorations over the festive season.

Look in the Kitchen Cupboards

Anything like cinnamon sticks, cut up oranges and rosemary, not only make great decorations on the top, they also smell amazing.

If you are a baker or want to take on a new skill or challenge this year, a great alternative to gift tags is baking gingerbread and writing the recipient's name in icing - they can also eat it as they unwrap their gift - how delicious!

Make Your Own Stamps

If you are crafty, get those fingers ready! To decorate your wrapping, you could use your finger or cut vegetables into shapes to stamp on your wrapping to add that personal touch. Just ensure the paint is non-toxic and eco-friendly.

Use Old Clothes to Make Ribbons

If you have any old clothes left, cut them into little strips and tie them around your presents to create ribbons and/or bows. Here is a great tutorial that I have used in the past - DIY Bow.


If you still prefer to use wrapping paper, then you can buy eco-friendly wrapping paper that is 100% recyclable online. I have put a few of my favourites below with the links for you.


If you are stuck for festive gift ideas, check out my other article on ocean-related gift ideas here!

Thank you for reading, and have a lovely festive season!


Written by Darby Bonner

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