Making Better Decisions: Gift Wrap Outside the Box

Posted in: Organic Living
By Naturepedic Team
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Making Better Decisions: Gift Wrap Outside the Box

Green Gift Wrap

The season of giving is upon us, which means piles of wrapping paper, ribbon, and bows will take a short journey from the gifts to the garbage can. According to Use Less Stuff, Americans produce 25% more garbage between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. That’s 1 million extra tons of garbage per week, leaving plenty of room to make better decisions when it comes to holiday waste.

As the designated environmental hippie of the family, excess around the holidays can be a big source of frustration for me. One year, my mother gave me a fabric gift bag. “I put a gift in it,” she told me, “but the REAL present for you is the bag!” She gets me. (Finally).

Today’s blog is all about how you can make a few simple changes to your holiday gift wrapping routine can mean a big impact for the planet.


A simple way to improve your environmental impact is to reduce the amount of gift wrap you consume. Instead of individually wrapping every gift, put several into a stocking or reusable gift bag. For gift exchanges with adults, suggest a gift-wrap free agreement.

Giving gifts such as movie tickets, gift cards, or “experience” items reduces the number of gifts to wrap. A few years ago, I got my parents a flying lesson and a gift certificate to a local restaurant. Amount of gift wrap needed: two paper envelopes!


You can make or purchase reusable cloth drawstring bags in various sizes, or simply re-use paper gift bags each year. I use nondescript gift bags for this reason, because it is easy to grab one for any gifting occasion. Up your re-using game by carefully removing paper gift wrap to re-use next year.

You can also use discarded gift wrap as packing material if you are shipping gifts, or create some beautiful crafts with scrap wrapping paper like these.


Instead of buying festive rolls of paper, use newspaper, plain brown paper, or re-purposed paper grocery bags. This is a great way to involve children in the gift wrapping process. Wrap the gift, then have the kids decorate the box with markers or colored pencils.


Shiny, glossy, metallic, dyed, or laminated gift wraps are not able to be recycled. Check out companies like Wrappily or Earth Presents for paper-based and fully recyclable options.

To prepare your discarded materials for the recycle bin, fold the wrapping paper neatly instead of crushing it into a ball. You should also break down and collapse cardboard boxes. If you are unsure about whether or not something is recyclable, visit to find your local recycling center. Give them a call or contact them online to ask questions.

Your Better Decisions

Which of these better decisions can your family make this holiday season to reduce your impact on the planet?

4 years ago

Making Better Decisions: Gift Wrap Outside the Box

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