Hopefully by now you’ve bought nearly all your Christmas pressies. If not and you’re more of a mad dash kind of person there’s still plenty of time. When you’re all done and ready to get wrapping, I hope this post inspires you to try something different.
What happens to all that giftwrap?
For years I’ve bought giftwrap without any thought as to what it was made of. Normally after we’ve opened the gifts and torn the paper to shreds with some help from the pooch, of course, we usually just chuck it in the bin.
Before now, it hadn’t occurred to me that most of this wrapping had a one-way ticket to Destination Landfill. There’s got to be a better way.
I don’t know about you but I think one of the best things about present opening is the anticipation ripping off the paper brings. If you have kids, I bet you’ll love to see the joy on their faces as they break into their presents.
You can get re-useable fabric gift wrap which is a bit like a square scarf that you tie around each gift. And the idea is the recipient will re-use it again. A bit like paying it forward, only with wrapping fabric.
But of course fabric wrap means there’s no joyous ripping of paper. And people you gift it to might stash it away and forget about it. Even worse, they might throw it out. Especially if sustainability isn’t front of mind.
A greener option that can be ripped up!
I like to use plain recycled brown Kraft paper for gifts. It’s sold in so many places. Affordable and also compostable, it’s a game-changer. I recently bought a 12m roll in WH Smith for £3.99. Sadly it is wrapped in plastic film (come on Smiths!!). Otherwise it’s perfect.
For larger items you can leave the paper plain and tie with some twine. I like to use a brand called Twool which is 100% natural, comes in a variety of colours and is also compostable. The combination of the paper and the twine also looks good, in an understated way.
If brown paper isn’t your thing, another option could be to save up some newspaper and use this to wrap some gifts. Yes, it might look a bit strange at first but with some twine, the result can be quite fetching. Or you could use old magazine pages to wrap smaller gifts. Kids’ comics would be a good choice too.
To make the brown paper or newspaper a bit more fun you could embellish it with some ink stamping.
I recommend The English Stamp Company (ESC). ESC is a family business based in Dorset, UK. Now, one of the other reasons ESC gets my stamp of approval (couldn’t resist) is that they have not one, but FIVE office dogs. Also, all their packaging is recyclable and plastic free. WH Smith, please take note….
I bought three stamps at £4.00 each and an ink pad in onyx black for £5.00. The ink is vegetable-based so won’t affect the composting of the brown paper. 16 colours are available in medium and large. The mini ink pads come in a whopping 64 colour options. My only gripe with these ink pads is they are cased in plastic. Okay, deducting some points from you now ESC. Maybe in future this will change to something like aluminium.
As for the stamps, there’s a huge range of designs across loads of different categories. I bought reindeer, swallow and feather designs. They are very collectable. And as well as being therapeutic to use, the end results look great too.
A fun activity for kids
If you have kids, using ink stamps could be a fun way to get them involved in the Christmas wrapping process. I’m sure they’d love to help out Depending on their ages, the results might not look as slick as your own stamping but I’m sure that would only add to the charm.
Or you could even encourage them to draw some pictures on the kraft paper to make it even more personal.
A sticky problem
Finally, let’s talk about sellotape. This is made from cellophane and polypropylene (AKA plastic).
It’s an all round baddie because it can’t be recycled. And if it’s attached to any paper in your recycling it will stop that paper from getting pulped.
So if you do use sellotape, make sure you tear it all off after and try to keep it out of any recycling.
As a greener alternative, I recommend paper tape which contains a natural rubber-based adhesive. This works just as well, looks better and is fully compostable. At the moment paper tape isn’t stocked in mainstream shops but hopefully by Christmas 2020, it will be.
So there you have it. Some sustainable wrapping options which are affordable and shouldn’t spoil the joy of ripping open the pressies. And they might even provide some pre-Christmas fun on a rainy afternoon too. Have you tried any of these ideas? Do let me know what you think in the comments below.
Brown paper, 12m roll £3.99, WH Smith. Twine, 35m pack £3.00, Twool. Stamps from £4.00 and Versacolor ink pad from £2.50, The English Stamp Company. Paper tape around £3.00, available online.