Wrap Smarter: 10 Eco-Friendly Holiday Wrapping Ideas

vz eco final
VZWraps. An eco-friendly way to make gift-wrapping a cinch.

We’re on a mission to help you do away with all of the waste and excess that surrounds the holidays. You can examine your foodprint — by reading this waste less food post — but we really hope you’ll resolve to wrap smarter this season.

Why wrap smarter? Half of the paper consumed in the U.S. every year is used to wrap and decorate consumer products. And according to the Clean Air Council, an additional 5 million tons of waste is generated in the U.S. during the holiday season and a substantial portion of that is wrapping paper and shopping bags.

Here are our ten eco-wrapping ideas that are beautiful and honor Mother Nature. Feel free to comment below and share any additional recommendations!

1. Use VZWraps. These fabric gift bags significantly reduce trash by providing a reusable alternative with easy-to-use, beautiful fabric gift bags. The bags are made in the U.S. from organic and traditional cotton with attached ribbons made from recycled materials. The eco-grosgrain ribbon is made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles, and the eco-satin is made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled polyester. Drop your gift in, tie the bag closed, and your wrapping is done! Reuse the bags for years — the attached ribbons won’t get lost.

2. Find inspiration around your home. Mags, brown bags, newspapers, comics and old maps are a better alternative than purchased wrapping paper. (Worth knowing: Wrapping paper generally can’t be recycled because it is dyed or laminated, contains non-paper additives, or is too thin to have good-quality fibers.)

3. Get clever with the accents. Do you have twine, yarn, ribbon or bakers twine around the house? You can also collect acorns, pinecones, and small branches from outside to adorn your gift as opposed to purchasing decorations for your gifts. (Worth knowing: 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.)


4. Start shredding. If you have old newspapers or magazines around, shred them and use as filler instead of buying tissue paper. When you give the gift, suggest that he/she keeps the filler to reuse.

5. Give a gift inside a gift. You can place a beautiful gift inside a gift and avoid wrapping and the accents all together. You can place a gift inside things like a teapot, mug, purse, cosmetic case, or jewelry box. This idea is limitless!

6. Reuse gift bags. Have old gift bags that were given to you tucked away in the closet?

7. Ditch the ribbon. If you’ve wrapped a gift with a reused brown bag or white paper, you can actually draw a ribbon on the gift with a marker or crayon!

8. Give bottles and tins a new life. Transform old bottles and tins into special gift packaging.

9. Get the kids involved. If you have children, why not collect their art work and use it as gift wrap paper.

10. Give chip bags a second chance. Cut open a bag and wash it out with soap and water and pat it dry. Cut according to size and voila, shiny silver wrapping paper.

Be sure to check out Eco-Chick’s Simple Ways to Reuse Gift Wrap for clever, post-holiday ideas.

About Lindsay E. Brown
Lindsay is Eco-Chick's managing editor and head of business development. She served as Director of Communications at the social enterprise CBS EcoMedia for two and a half years and was awarded the “Share the Vision” by the CBS Corporation which recognizes high-performing employees. Lindsay co-created the acclaimed interview series “Heroines for the Planet" which is currently running on Eco-Chick. She has written for Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Magazine, Edible, Cottages & Gardens, Huffington Post, EarthHour.org, Livia Firth's Eco-Age.com, Ecover US, Laura Turner Seydel's blog, and Gather Green. Lindsay was featured on the Veria Living Network as a “voice for the planet’s health” and was named in Ecover’s “30 Under 30″ contest which recognized those who are making a sustainable difference in their local or global communities. Lindsay holds a B.S. in Global Business Studies and Marketing from Manhattan College, and received the 2012 Honors Award for Top Student in RW1 at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.


  1. Hi! I am passionate about reducing the use of wrapping and have developed a cloth based wrapping product which you might be interested in checking out :) Amy

  2. Buenas y originales ideas, las tendremos en cuenta.

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