December 21, 2021

How to wrap your gifts with zero waste.

By Leza Warkentin
How to wrap your gifts with zero waste.

It’s time to say goodbye - to gift wrapping paper, that is. We can think of a million reasons why - 2.3 million actually. That’s how many pounds of the stuff ends up in landfills every year in the US alone. And that also includes recyclable paper, which you probably thought would be a much better option.

Zero Waste Gift Wrapping Ideas

The truth is, most wrapping paper isn’t recyclable at all. The saturation of ink, the thin quality and the high levels of microplastics on that glittery wrap all make wrapping paper that's headed for land fill. You do have zero waste options that can be even more beautiful than your normal holiday gift wrap. 

Earth911 estimates that 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper are produced each year, with roughly half of that ending up in landfills.1

zero waste handmade paper bow

Photo credit: paperstitchblog.com

From handmade gift bags 2 to bows made out of old magazines, newspapers or maps, basically any paper product that has interesting colors, photos or text will work. Check out this great tutorial from paperstitchblog 3.

Furoshiki

"Furoshiki is the traditional Japanese art of wrapping packages in fabric. The name refers to both the method and the square cloth used.

This method was first used to protect valuable goods in transit. It’s now evolved to become a popular practice around the world to transport bottles, food, home decor and other items.

Furoshiki has also become a popular and zero waste way to wrap gifts.

All you need is the cloth itself and you can reuse it as many times as you want."4

Furoshiki is a sustainable and lovely way to upcycle materials and personalize your gifts this year. It’s convenient and economical if you reuse what you already have available at home, and it adds even more value to the special gift you are giving to your loved one.

Make sure your fabric is square and large enough for the item you are wrapping. Check the quality of the fabric. If it’s too thin, your recipient will easily see through it, and it could break from the weight of the gift. Cotton is usually a good choice for this purpose.

Look around your own home for fabric that could suit this purpose - bandannas, scarves, napkins, tablecloths - the only limit is your imagination (and your closet)! Also, Modern Shibori has organic cotton cloths dyed with natural dyes such as indigo, walnut and pomegranate. Using the traditional Shibori tie-dye method, we design each piece by hand to create these unique, zero-waste cloths. 

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Get Wrapping

Here are five of our favorite ways to wrap gifts of all shapes and sizes. Grab a scarf and let’s get in some practice before the Christmas Eve crunch! 

  1. For square objects - Lay the object diagonally in the center of the furoshiki cloth. Pull one corner over the middle of the object. Pull the opposite corner over the middle as well. Bring the last two corners to the middle and tie in a simple knot.
  2. For long objects, like posters or rolling pins - Lay the object diagonally on one corner of the furoshiki cloth. Roll it right up to the other end. Take the two remaining ends and tie them together, pulling tight. Pull in any extra pieces of fabric and tie a knot.

Modern Shibori furoshiki

Photo: Modern Shibori furoshiki

  1. For flat objects, like books - Lay the object in the middle of the furoshiki cloth. Pull on corner over the object and lay it down. Pull the resulting triangular piece toward the adjacent corner. Wrap the adjacent corner over the object and crease the overhanging flap. Tuck the flap in and fold the final corner over, tucking it in.
  2. For bottles - Place the bottle in the center of the cloth. Pull one corner over the bottle. Pull the other corner over the bottle. Bring the two remaining corners together and tie them in a knot in front of the bottle.
  3. For round objects or objects to carry - Place the object in the center of the cloth. Pinch all four corners and bring all of them up. Pair the corners and tie them. Push one of the knots through the loop of the other knot. Lift that knot to secure it. 

pebble magazine zero waste gift wrapping

Photo credit: Pebble Magazine

Recycle your holiday gift wrapping

Sometimes it's not clear what's actually recyclable and what needs to be put in land fill. "Lots of decorative garbage that lasts for up to a month or a day before meeting its end in the trash. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans churned through over five million Christmas trees in 2017 alone. And Earth911 estimates that 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper are produced each year, with roughly half of that ending up in landfills.

If you’re wondering how best to recycle or trash your holiday-related items this year, you’re in luck; below you’ll find advice on the right ways to get rid of everything from your used single-use wrapping paper to bubble wrap." 5

We are a sustainable fashion brand committed to helping our customers find new ways to contribute to a better world. Do you have zero waste ideas for your holiday gift wrapping? Drop a comment below.

    Resources 

    1,5 https://lifehacker.com/how-to-recycle-all-of-your-holiday-garbage-1840367571

    https://www.thecentsiblelife.com/handmade-gift-bags/

    https://www.papernstitchblog.com/tutorial-how-to-make-a-bow-out-of-recycled-magazines/

    https://pebblemag.com/magazine/living/zero-waste-gift-wrapping

    Additional Reading

    https://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/story/27868/never-buy-gift-paper-again-the-ultimate-guide-to-zero-waste-wrapping/