What we love about the holidays: Lights, eggnog, getting bundled up, spending time with loved ones (in person or virtually), blasting festive music, the list goes on... What we don't love about the holidays: Wrapping paper is not recyclable. In fact, it's estimated that about 2.3 million pounds of wrapping paper ends up in landfills each year - and that's just in the U.S. alone!
But here's the good news: There are tons of fun and clever gift wrapping hacks for keeping your footprint a little lighter this holiday season. In fact, if every American family wrapped three presents in reused materials this season, the saved paper would cover 45,000 football fields! Challenge accepted. Here are a few of our favorite alternative ways to wrap a gift:
- Brown recycled paper - Dress it up with reused ribbons, twine, ornaments, dried flowers, pine cones, or tree sprigs. Something you found in nature is an awesome way to add a special touch to a gift wrapped in recycled brown wrapping paper. Pro tip: Tape isn't recyclable either, so try and keep the gift together without it, or if you can't, use as little as possible and place where you can easily peel off before you recycle the paper.
- Your Toad&Co shipper - Yep, those recycled brown paper packages are the perfect material for eco-friendly gift wrapping. For your favorite Toad fan to get them even more excited for what's inside.
- Newspaper or magazine pages - Look for the good news section.
- Baskets - Another alternative to gift wrap that does double duty, and makes the gifting experience that much more fun.
- Sheet music - For your most musically inclined friends.
- Children's artwork - Warning: May cause happy tears.
- Fabric or cloth - We love this zero waste gift wrapping idea because your recipient ends up scoring two gifts. Dish towels, scarves, and bandanas are some of our favorite gift wrap alternatives. Try your hand at Japanese Furoshiki (aka how to wrap a gift in cloth) to make it extra beautiful. We can promise you, your recipient won't be disappointed that you ditched the traditional wrapping paper.
- Old maps - Even though your dad told you you're going to use all those paper maps one day, if you haven't touched it in a couple of years, it's wrapping paper fair game.
- Jars - Zero waste gift wrapping at its finest. Especially because jars usually come with DIY and homemade gifts, which we're especially big fans of.
- The inside of empty chip bags - Hear us out, they're shockingly shiny! Make sure you do a thorough job to clean them out first.
- DIY plantable paper - If you have a blender and some extra time on your hands, this one is a guaranteed hit. Get the instructions here.
- Reused wrapping paper - Save wrapping materials throughout the year, so by the holidays, you're ready to go. Any gift wrap is reusable gift wrap with the right amount of planning.
- Give a gift without wrapping it - There are plenty of fun ways to do this, like host a scavenger hunt. Your recipient will be so caught up in your awesome clues, they'll be enamored by the gift at the end, unwrapped as it may be.
Finding alternative ways to wrap a gift is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to making your holiday season more sustainable. Check out more eco-friendly holiday tips here.
And when the season's over, make sure you know what to do with your holiday leftovers (like boxes, opened wine, and your Christmas tree).