Article - 10 tips for reducing rubbish with green gift-wrapping

10 tips for reducing rubbish with green gift-wrapping

Did you know that the average person wraps 20 gifts at Christmas? If just 3 of those were wrapped in reused paper or a paper alternative, the paper saved would cover 45,000 football fields. That got me thinking about ways to reduce rubbish when gift-giving, so here are 10 ideas for wrapping presents using materials you’ll probably already have around the house.



  1. Make a gift extra special by wrapping it inside something else like a beautiful sarong, scarf, table cloth or pillowcase or by putting it inside a basket or terracotta pot
  2. Old jars make great gift containers (especially when they’re filled with yummy things to eat). Just soak and remove old labels (or use a hair dryer to melt the glue). There are lots of options for lid and jar decorations – including cut out circles of fabric attached with string or a rubber band
  3. Old maps, calendars, posters and flyers make great gift-wrap
  4. If you put oddly shaped, smallish items inside old cereal boxes, it makes them easier to wrap
  5. Decorate paper grocery bags with felt pens and crayons, or magazine cut-outs. The bags can then be cut up and used as wrapping paper or used as handy gift sacks for all your xmas loot
  6. If you have kids, then you probably have heaps of their drawings and paintings stored away which make beautiful and unique gift-wrap
  7. Try to use a small amount of cellotape (or none at all) when wrapping presents. That way the paper’s less likely to tear when the presents opened and the paper can be reused
  8. For finishing touches on your presents; tie the parcel together with wool or string and attach things like rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks, found shells or if you have any plastic leis lying around you can dismantle them and thread the individual flowers onto your string
  9. The fronts of old greeting cards can be cut into all sorts of shapes like hearts and stars and used as gift tags
  10. And lastly, if you’re shopping for new wrapping paper this year, there are many beautiful recycled paper options available

Do you have any more tips for gifts or gift wrapping? We’d love to hear them.

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Comments | 15

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    Thank you Sonia - sounds like your family is doing some great things!
    By Melanie Rands on Wed February 03, 2016
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    Love all these suggestions! Our family dedicated this whole year to minimizing, recycling,simplifying, and it's going to be great to keep the same line at gift wrapping too. My girls will definitely love this new recycling project. Thanks for sharing!
    By Sonia Russo on Fri December 18, 2015
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    Great idea, thanks for sharing it with us smile
    By Melanie Rands on Fri November 28, 2014
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    Great idea, thanks for the tip smile
    By Melanie Rands on Fri November 28, 2014
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    I often wrap gifts in the glossy coloured paper from the Saturday NZ Herald Real Estate section.
    By Susan on Fri November 28, 2014
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    Old or cut offs of wallpaper is also a really sturdy gift wrap option. Often paint and wallpaper shops have bins of it, that are free.

    Happy wrapping!
    By Bronwyn on Fri November 28, 2014
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    Thanks Brenda, I'm glad you mentioned Trade Aid, it's a wonderful idea to support them whenever we can. I have also bought twine from them in the past and you're right they have great colours and are always good to have on hand and can save you from having to use celloptape on your gifts smile
    By Melanie Rands on Wed December 18, 2013
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    Hey Celia, how lovely of you to stop by. Gift tags are a great start! I hope you have a merry christmas also and it'd be lovely to see you if you're ever up this way x
    By Melanie Rands on Wed December 18, 2013
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    Wow, I agree they do look fabulous. What a great idea to send a pinterest link, we might have to repin that one on the ecostore boards. I must admit though, am feeling a little in awe of how organised you are! smile
    By Melanie Rands on Wed December 18, 2013
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    I always use brown paper and twine, all colours are available now, trade aid has some beautiful ones and leaves to pretty up. rosemary looks great, as do olive branches.
    By brenda lawton on Wed December 18, 2013

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