How To Wrap Gifts Without Wasting Paper & Money

If you’re buying gifts this holiday season, you’re probably like the 98 percent of consumers who say they wrap holiday gifts before giving them to friends or family members.

Turns out all that wrapping creates an estimated 4 million tons of trash each year. That’s equivalent to 5,787 NFL football fields worth of wrapping paper. And not that this blog is about football field comparisons, but while we’re on the subject…the 2.6 billion greeting cards purchased in the United States around the holidays would fill a football field 10 stories high.

So what’s a gift giver to do? Try these easy tips for making your wrapping more sustainable and recyclable.

Opt for wrapping paper alternatives

It’s paper, right? Why not recycle it? Turns out wrapping paper is often dyed, laminated and too thin to recycle. Not to mention the tape, glitter and other bells and whistles often attached to wrapping paper. Other wrapping options include reusing newspaper or brown shopping bags. Or try putting the gift in a reusable gift bag. If you’re super crafty, you could even make your own recycled seed paper so you can plant it afterward.

Reuse ribbon

Ribbon is cute, and reused ribbon is even cuter. If every family reused just two feet of ribbon, we could tie a bow around the globe (all 38,000 miles of it).

Toss the tissue paper

Tissue paper is so thin that there aren’t enough fibers to recycle it like you might recycle other paper. So, save some money and skip it. If you need some padding in a gift box, use newspaper. It’s easy to shape and can be tossed in the recycling bin afterward.

DIY bows

If you need a gift bow, instead of buying one try upcycling some of the shopping bags you’ve acquired during your holiday shopping. These bows look great and are made from paper bags. You could also make bows from old magazines or other unique types of paper.

Start a trend

Encourage your friends and family to wrap sustainably, too. Hold a contest for the most creatively wrapped gift, and after all the gift opening is done, save any excess paper, bows or bags for next year.