Although the Holiday season hasn’t officially hit (I know its not even Thanksgiving), its never too early too start thinking about environmental ways to approach the season. It is estimated that almost 25 million tons more waste is created during the holidays than over a typical ten-week period. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons per week!

If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet. If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high. If we each sent one card less, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper.

So enough of statistics! Here are some tips to be more environmentally conscious when wrapping presents:

Instead of using wrapping paper, get in the habit of wrapping your family presents in cool fabric and ribbons that you reuse every year. If you’re super crafty, make cloth sacks out of fun fabric and ribbon closures or knit one. Thrift stores often have great options for inexpensive fabrics. Get creative!

If you do use wrapping paper, try to buy only recycled options. Fortunately attractive options exist! One of my favorite companies, paporganics, “sustainable stationary and gift wrap” sells beautiful gift wrap and all the trimmings (hemp wrap, gift enclosure cards, natural ribbons and gift tissue). savitris makers of handmade recycled paper products also sells gorgeous gift wrap that i would drool to get a present wrapped in. sells inexpensive recycled wrapping paper in solid colors ($12.95 for a 24″x100’roll) and KidBean sells recycled hemp wrap.

Use recycled craft paper to create your own recycled wrap with interesting stamps or sponge painting

Make sure to recycle all wrapping paper when possible, but check first with your local recycling program to make sure they accept conventional wrapping paper. Most conventional wrapping paper contains a high content of metal and is therefore not accepted by most programs. When not using recycled wrap, try not to buy the metallic wrap because of this reason.

Make your own wrapping paper by recycling ordinary items from your house. Colorful magazine pages, the comics, wacky personals pages, phone book listings all make interesting and unique wrapping materials. Make a collage and use that. Why buy paper when you can just reuse something cool you already have?

About Ann Benoit


  1. Another great ‘eco christmas’ idea is to buy your tree from a sustainable source – or check out this new site as they plant a tree for you if you register on the site which helps to make you feel better about so many being chopped down, used and discarded every christmas.

  2. Check out Fish Lips Paper Designs! They combine modern designs and recycled papers to create “Fashionably Responsible” gift wrap. All 15 of their designs are printed in the USA on 100% Post-Conusmer recycled paper using non-toxic soy based inks. These papers will make even the lamest gift look exciting!!!

  3. I just ordered beautiful wrap from

    and am looking forward to getting it! Lots of ideas for making your own wrap too.

  4. Pingback: Eco-Chick » Blog Archive » Green Gifts: The Top 5 Regifting Don’ts

  5. Thanks for sharing these great ideas! One can also tie and knot a furoshiki (square piece of cloth) for an eco-gift wrap option. Furoshiki is a time-honored Japanese tradition. My artisan furoshikis are handcrafted from bona-fide sustainable textiles, including hemp/soy and hemp/organic cotton blends and are embellished with non-toxic water-based inks and 100% organic cotton threads. Encourage your gift recipient to “wrap it forward” to keep the eco-cycle going. Cheers, Mandy

  6. Great tips! It is so important to reduce all of the waste that is associated with something as wonderful as gift giving! I am so passionate about “greening” the gifting process that I started my own little eco-gift wrap company last year. eWrapz ( is reusable fabric gift wrap that is stylish and easy to use. Just another option for making gift wrapping more eco-friendly and cut down on all of that paper waste!

  7. Genius green options for helping us be green when wrapping presents! What I love to do is to re-use biscuit and chocolate tins to wrap my presents in, then I redecorate to match the occasion 🙂 also I never send paper cards only e cards!

  8. Cloth tablecloths are super to wrap large and odd shaped items. A beautiful linen tablecloth to wrap a lamp for a wedding gift, kids birthday party themed to wrap a tricycle. And so on.
    A gift that also becomes a tradition. I help a vendor at the Brimfield Antiques Flea Market week in Brimfield, Mass. She sells over 2,000 fabric tablecloths per show. I give people many different ideas what can be done with such large, beautiful expanses of fabric.

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