Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping - Solved!

We all know the holidays are wasteful, not just over consuming madness but the packaging waste as well.   Many well intentioned people plan to recycle as much as they can of their holiday packaging, but unfortunately, not all wrapping paper can be recycled, especially if it contains any metallic or foil elements to the wrapping paper.   And tissue paper, because it made from small fibers, it is not a desirable recyclable commodity and is better off composted.  Additionally,  plastic ribbons that many people use to decorate packages, are very wasteful and cannot be recycled.  And when they accidentally get recycled, they often end up damaging recycling equipment.  Because of all of this, I knew I needed to change the way I wrapped presents.  Luckily, I found a simple solution that is going to save me tons of money too. 

When I started my hunt for the best green gift wrapping solution, I scoured the internet, and what I found is that most of the current solutions are either expensive, unrealistic or involve far too much craftiness for me. 

Here are some examples:

-Wrapping paper made with recycled content & soy ink:  Nearly impossible to find in any store I went to or online.

-Used paper items to wrap gifts: Not a bad idea, using old magazines, newspapers or recycled paper to wrap your presents.  But, the problem is, who still get’s a newspaper? And in order to wrap any sizable gifts you have to be very crafty, patient and willing to tape together many small pieces of paper. This is clearly not realistic for everyone. 

-Biodegradable wrapping paper made from seeds:  Love the idea, but let’s face it, this is expensive and unrealistic for wrapping all your gifts.   

But with one trip to my local reuse store (here in Austin, we have a place called Austin Creative Reuse, but if you search most major cities have a store like this), I easily got everything I needed to last me a lifetime.  

I bought tons of spools of beautiful wired ribbon at $.25 a piece (normally $5 and up!).  This was beautiful, quality fabric ribbon, that I know can be used over and over each holiday season. 

Then I bought scrap fabric, in awesome holiday prints and gently used holiday gift bags.  

For a fraction of the cost of wrapping paper, I now have a lifetime’s supply of reusable holiday wrapping supplies.  I will wrap all my presents in holiday fabric or bags rather than wrapping paper, and adorn with beautiful second hand, reusable ribbons.  And my waste on Christmas morning should be next to none.   

Kelly Buskirk

About Kelly Green Consultant:  Hi!  I'm Kelly Buskirk.  I currently live in Austin, TX, but I first got involved in sustainability when I was living on the island of Kauai, and a landfill was proposed by neighborhood.   I made the conscious shift to live a zero waste lifestyle and transform the business I was managing from great, to green!  My intention is to tread lightly on the planet, by reducing toxins and waste in my life and help others do the same in their life and business.   Join me on my Zero Waste + Green Living quest!