5 Sustainable Gift Wrapping Solutions

In the UK alone we collectively throw away 227 thousand miles of paper during the festive season. With that in mind, I wanted to look into alternative solutions for Gift Wrapping.


So whats the problem with Christmas paper anyway?

Most wrapping paper cannot be recycled. Often, the paper has been laminated with plastic, contains glitter, foil and other non paper materials. The paper also rarely has good quality fibres, (necessary for the recycling process) and is contaminated with sellotape which is not only non-recyclable  but can disrupt the recycling process.



The Ancient Japanese art of cloth folding. The perfect wrap up where the wrapping is actually part of the gift!

It can be used to wrap boxes, small objects and even bottles. It is a great, elegant way to avoid using plastic or paper bags and help to preserve natural resources.


If you fancy giving it a go source already existing fabrics by searching charity shops or the back of your cupboard for Scarves, Tea towels, Table cloths or other Household fabrics. You could also ask crafty friends for any fabric off cuts from projects.



We create so much paper waste on a daily basis so it is silly not to reuse these materials in a creative way. Whether you simply use the print or add decorative bows and ruffles, all of these can be created from recycled papers. I love Pinterest as a tool for finding inspiration and easy to follow tutorials – click here to check it out for yourself!

There are plenty of options to personalise the wrap too. Check out your local charity shops to find an array of printed material perfect for your giftee!

  • Old Sheet music for the musician
  • Old Sewing/knit patterns for the crafty or the fashionista
  • Old maps for the avid traveller
  • Cook book pages for the aspiring chef
  • Gardening magazines for those with green fingers
  • Comic books for the little (and big) kids in your life


3.   JAR IT UP

The humble jar has many uses beyond its original purpose. Have fun making elaborately decorated jars or keep it simple. This is a picture of some jars I made last year, using charity shop finds and donations for materials.

Jars absolutely lend themselves to the Hamper Style Gift, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to stick with traditional preserves and  pickles. You can fill them with a variety of mini gifts and make a themed hamper basket;

  • Pamper kit – fill them with Cotton Crocheted Face Scrubs, Body Scrubs, Homemade Face Creams and all kinds of indulgent yumminess
  • Herb and Succulent Planters – Grow your own or create a beautiful mini garden
  • Artist Kit – Pencils, Scrolls of (recycled) paper, Buttons and other interesting knick-knacks
  • Date Night –  Candles, Homemade Chocolates, Poetry in a jar, Promise Vouchers
  • Little explorer – Bug catchers, Check lists, Pine cones and other natural materials

Have a look at Hello Glow for an inspiring list of natural fillers for Jar Gifts; including organic Body Scrubs, Cookie in a Jar recipes and Spiced Potpourri.




A couple of years ago I made a lot of Gift Bags made from old Record Sleeves. This is such a simple way to make a personalised Gift bag that can be re-used.

Half of the fun is searching through the charity shop stash and trying to find the perfect band or theme for your Giftee – the Best friend who loves a bit of ABBA, Love songs for a loved one or dodgy Scottish Bands that only your Uncle loves!!

There are some really fun ideas on how to make your own gift bags using recycled materials. You can use existing materials such as cereal boxes or create your own from recycled paper and card. Here are a few of my favourite links to tutorials;

Cereal Box Bags    by Upcycled Online

Make DIY Gift Bags – From any Paper  by Kelly Elko

How to make professional looking gift bags  by A Beautiful Mess

Plastic Bottle Gift Box  by My Moppet Makes





Buy into experiences and spending time with your loved ones, or why not gift lessons or local services and do away with a physical gift altogether! I personally would love someone to buy me a Veggie box subscription, a guitar lesson or a day out with the family over bubbly bath and chocolates, wouldn’t you?

With most online vouchers you don’t even need to print if you have a smartphone.

Last year we bought a Murder Mystery Tour around Aberdeen and spent the day learning about the history of Aberdeen whilst crime fighting and stopping for coffee with close friends! It was a great day and completely zero waste as the whole experience was organised digitally via an App.

Here are my Top 5 Activities and Subscription ideas for the perfect Zero Waste Gift:

  • National Trust, Historic Scotland or similar memberships
  • On-line Magazine Subscription
  • Classes & Workshops Local to your area -Here are some suggestions for  Aberdeenshire‎
  • Local Business Subscriptions and Vouchers – Think Veggie box deliveries, swimming lessons, Beauty treatments etc
  • Creative arts, Theatre and Music Events


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