In the UK only, we discard 5 million tonnes of paper which end up in landfill every year. Christmas wrapping paper adds a huge chunk to this already staggering number. 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is thrown away every Christmas. Let me help you to imagine this enormous number: enough to wrap around the equator 9 times. The thing is, yes wrapping does look pretty – however we only use it for a few minutes – literally: a minute to wrap it and a few seconds to unwrap it and with that, the lifecycle of a Christmas wrapping paper ends. That’s it. Sounds like a lot of waste and it is a lot of waste indeed. Another issue is with the wrapping paper, that recycling is almost impossible because the fibres of this cheaper type of paper are not strong enough to recycle. Also, most of the cases, wrapping paper is made of a mix of materials added to the paper like colouring, glitter and other plastics.
So what can we do to reduce our Christmas waste – particularly to reduce the waste created by wrapping paper? I have collected a few, more environmentally friendly options.
Reusable, personalised Christmas sacks
These are a fantastic solution because they can be used year after year, the perfect zero-waste gift packaging. We just got one really big one for each children with their names embroidered on them from The Gift Experience, so they can hold all the presents – no need for individual wrapping. It also gives a sense of a little tradition because the kids know they are getting their very own Christmas sacks at every Christmas. And they are so cute!
Reuse old wrapping
Save everything you can: wrapping paper (you can even iron them!) and the ribbons you used throughout the year. Save the Christmas cards from last year to create gift tags – anything really! Little bit older children can be also involved and let them to design the cards and gift tags recycling bits and pieces.
Use wrapping which CAN be recycled
Use plain brown paper and decorate it with Christmas stamps – or let your children to draw or paint all over it! Use jute strings instead of plastic ribbons. Add natural decorating items like a piece of holly branch, mistletoes, or pine tree. Make gingerbread cookies and pipe out the recipient’s name on them – then just tie them nicely together with the present.
Reusable cloth wrap
Another zero waste idea: use cloth wraps which can be reused and recycled without any waste. Buy some Christmas-themed printed material to create your own or simply use pretty neck scarf as a wrap. You can find plenty of knotting methods online – you don’t have to be an expert of Japanese cloth wrapping!
Reusable boxes and baskets
Wicker baskets and card board boxes are reusable, recyclable and biodegradable – so definitely a better option than a sheet of shiny Christmas wrapping paper. These can be also refilled year after year – so why not add some personalisation to them?
This post has collaborative elements.