Wrapping Presents with Zero Waste

Wrapping presents with zero waste | Eco-friendly living in the home - The Foraged Life
Wrapping presents with zero waste | Eco-friendly living in the home - The Foraged Life

Giving presents is a lovely thing - there’s no doubt about it. But the impact of this lovely thing, wrapped in paper, ribbons, bows and sellotape, is something not so lovely. It’s estimated that 108 million rolls of wrapping paper end up in the bin in Britain and, with all their glitter and plastics, very little of that can be/is recycled. It’s because of this that we’ve got to get savvy with our gift giving and get wrapping presents with zero waste.

Wrapping presents with zero waste

1. Reuse what you are given

You’re very nice so no doubt you get given gifts every now and again. Well, when you are, make sure you peel off that paper gently and pop in a drawer ready to reuse when you need. You can even ask the person you gift with that reused paper to do the same. The best we can do is make sure that paper already in existence is reused as much as possible.

2. Use newspaper

Do you get free newspapers in the post? We use them to line our bins, make our fires and for wrapping paper. So if they land through your letterbox, make sure you put them to good use and wrap those presents with them.

3. Parcel leftovers

If I have a parcel delivered, it often comes buffered with scrunched paper. This swiftly gets un-scrunched in my house and put in a drawer, ready to reuse when I need it. I actually prefer the look of unfurled paper over the crisp tight wrapping that comes with a fresh sheet.

4. Use material

This has to be one of my new found favourite options. You often see it utilised in Lush shops - the knot wrap - and is a gorgeous and alternative way to wrap your presents. You can grab a handful of old scarfs in charity shops and use these (they are often in bargain buckets) or even cut up an old sheet and try your hand at some natural dying to make it more exciting.

5. Paper bags

If you have a local bakery you frequent or health food shop, it’s likely that you pick up some paper bags in your weekly shop. Save them! They can be perfect to slip a little present into (I’ll reuse them for packed lunches or when I go back to the shop too).

6. Go without

This might seem obvious, but the option with the least waste is not to use wrapping at all. If the element of surprise is what’s important, can you cover your present with a sheet when it comes to giving it, ask your loved one to close their eyes or hide it and make a game out of it.

Decorating and fastening your present

The beauty of the material ‘knot wrap’ is that you can just tie your gift right up and you are good to go. If you have reused paper to wrap your present though, you’ll need a way to hold it down. In the same way you would with paper, make sure you save any ribbons or pieces of string you are given and use this. You don’t even need sellotape! As this youtube video shows, if you have a simple box shaped gift you can use expert wrapping skills to fold the paper in on itself and keep it secure. If those methods don’t quite cut the mustard you can buy string or twine made from a natural fibre - there are also sellotape alternatives, made from recycled paper and using natural adhesives, that you can buy.

In terms of decorating, I’m all about the nature touch. Try pressing ferns in-between heavy books and slipping this under the string tie.


If you have an other ideas for wrapping presents with zero waste, do let me know - I’d love to hear.