Sustainable Gift Wrapping: A Guide to Eco-Friendly Options

Gift-giving is a cherished tradition, but the environmental impact of conventional wrapping paper is a growing concern.

Luckily, numerous brands are creating sustainable alternatives that are both eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the importance of switching to sustainable gift wrapping alternatives, the issues with traditional wrapping paper, and the top eco-friendly gift wrap brands you should consider.

The Environmental Impact of Traditional Wrapping Paper

Despite the joy and anticipation that beautiful wrapping paper can bring, its environmental impact is far from joyful.

Estimates suggest that 2.3 million pounds of gift wrap end up in landfills every year.

This is due to multiple factors:

  1. Unrecyclable Materials: Many people mistakenly believe that all wrapping paper can be recycled because it’s paper-based. However, the truth is, that many types of gift wrap are coated with plastics or decorated with glitters that render them unrecyclable.
  2. Waste Generation: Traditional gift wrap is typically used once and then discarded, leading to a significant amount of waste.
  3. Production Process: Conventional wrapping paper is often produced using virgin paper, contributing to deforestation and excessive water consumption.

Recyclable vs. Recycled Gift Wrap

It’s important to differentiate between recyclable and recycled gift wrap.

Recyclable wrapping paper can be recycled after use, while recycled gift wrap is made from previously used materials such as newspaper or cardboard.

Both options are more sustainable than traditional gift wraps.

Sustainable Wrapping Paper Alternatives

If we want to reduce our environmental footprint during the holiday season, we need to consider eco friendly gift wrapping options.

Here are some sustainable gift wrap brands that are just as festive and beautiful as their traditional counterparts:

  1. Recycled Wrapping Paper: Brands like Wrappily offer a range of holiday-themed gift wraps made from recycled newspaper, making them both recyclable and compostable.
  2. Reusable Fabric Wraps: Inspired by the Japanese art of Furoshiki, fabric wraps can be used again and again. Companies like Wrappr offer a variety of beautiful designs, including ones made from silk and recycled polyester.
  3. Recycled Fabric Wraps: Brands like Christy Dawn utilise deadstock fabrics to create stunning Furoshiki-inspired wraps that can be reused year after year.
  4. Cotton Fabric Wraps: The Fab Wrap, a mother/daughter duo, creates affordable, reusable, and colourful wraps made from cotton fabric and sells them on Etsy.
  5. Organic Cotton Wraps: UK-based brand Wearth London offers zero-waste alternatives to wrapping paper, including reusable wraps made from organic cotton.
  6. Sustainably Sourced Paper Wraps: Australian company Inky Co offers over 140 styles of wrapping paper made from recyclable and sustainably sourced paper.
  7. Beeswax or Organic Cotton Wraps: Etsy shop OLSEN + OLSEN offers recycled Furoshiki cloth and beeswax wraps, perfect for wrapping food-related gifts.

Sustainable Alternatives to Traditional Gift Wrap Accessories

Making your gift wrap more sustainable doesn’t stop at the paper itself.

Consider these eco-friendly alternatives for ribbons, bows, and tape:

  1. Paper Ribbons and Bows: Opt for paper ribbons and bows instead of their plastic counterparts. They are recyclable and can be reused if handled gently.
  2. Washi Tape: Unlike plastic tape, washi tape is made from natural fibres and is often recyclable. It’s a beautiful and eco-friendly way to secure your gift wrap.
  3. Biodegradable Twine: A lovely rustic option, biodegradable twine not only secures your gift wrap but also adds a charming touch to your presents.
  4. Paper Tags: Instead of plastic tags, opt for paper ones. You could even get creative and make your own using recycled cardboard or paper.


Opting for sustainable gift wrap is a small change that can make a big difference.

By choosing eco-friendly alternatives, we can still enjoy the tradition of gift-giving without the guilt of contributing to environmental harm.

This holiday season, let’s commit to making more sustainable choices, starting with the way we wrap our presents.


  • Zero & Zen

    Dedicated to the cause of sustainability and eco-friendliness, our mission is to raise awareness about the importance of eco-conscious living.

    We firmly believe that individual actions can spark collective change and recognise the need for sustainable living to be tailored to your unique circumstances and pace.

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