In 2018, the global market for decorative wrapping papers was estimated at $15 billion. However, packaging isn’t just about aesthetically pleasing gifts – it’s also about mountains of waste.
In Canada alone, 540,000 tons of gift wrapping and gift bags are discarded every year – as much as the weight of 1,200,000 polar bears, for example. In addition, rolls of paper are usually wrapped in plastic and this generates additional garbage. Despite the word “paper” in the name, most of them are not recycled, as they are usually covered with a thin layer of plastic. Therefore, the best packaging is no packaging at all, but if you must wrap a gift in something, do it creatively and ecologically. Here are some ideas.
In our kitchens there are often empty glass jars from various products. You can use them to wrap gifts in an original way. Put a small gift in the jar – for example, a gift card, earrings, homemade cookies, etc. Inside, depending on the occasion, you can add Christmas tree sprigs, flowers, small stones or wood wool. Cover the top of the jar with a nice fabric and tie it with a ribbon or jute string.
Jars are great reusable packaging. Once the gift is unwrapped, you can use them as you wish, such as for storing loose products or personal trinkets.
Baking paper is pleasant to the touch and very minimalist. You can always decorate it with handwritten drawings or write a nice message on it. A jute string with some trinket – a pinecone, a dried orange slice, a fabric or wooden tag – will also be a great decoration.
If you have scrap paper at home, don’t rush to throw it away. This can also be a good idea for gift wrapping. Black and white newspapers and pages from old books work best in this role. You can also use scrap paper to fill a box and secure the gift.
For fabrics, go for eco-friendly variants such as linen and cotton. You can also use napkins, rags and scarves you have at home that you will no longer use. You can wrap a tougher gift or box in fabric, or sew a cute pouch out of it.
A good way to wrap a gift is a canvas bag – a gift in a way. The eco-bag is versatile and durable, so the recipient of the gift is sure to find a use for it.
A furoshiki sling is a square piece of cloth that was used in ancient Japan to carry valuable goods. So get inspired by the Land of Cherry Blossom and wrap your gift in a beautiful scarf that can be used again and again, such as tying up your hair with it or wrapping a breakfast box in it.
Boxes are something everyone is sure to have at home. You can use a clean cardboard box from any product – shoes, electronics or cosmetics. On the top, just paint it or cover it with paper/gauze. Steel and wooden boxes will also make excellent gift packaging. You can easily find another use for them later at home or wrap another gift in them.
If you don’t have anything at home that is suitable for wrapping, it is better to buy something that can be recycled or reused. The most important thing is to avoid plastic, sequins and glitter. With them, recycling packaging will be more difficult or even impossible.
main photo: unsplash.com/Natalia Arkusha