The Sustainability Series: Christmas Wrapping

Christmas is one of the most wasteful times of the year, generating over 10 million kilos of trash per annum, which mostly can’t be recycled and contains harmful substances. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are a substantial amount of swaps that you can do to save the environment and get that little bit thriftier whilst doing so. Most of these are very Pinterest-able and will make your gifts that little bit more unique.

  1. Wrapping paper alternatives

The first alternative to wrapping is brown paper. This is a classic technique and gives the rustic, minimalist chic that will be a winner for presentation. This is pretty cheap and is plastic free, making it biodegrade.

Similarly, you can buy a roll of paper wallpaper to cover your Christmas gifts in. I like to decorate these rolls in stamps to give them a more classic wrapping paper feel to them as the white is a bit harsh, but you can choose to keep it white if that’s your vibe. Choosing paper means that it can be recycled and as it comes in a big roll, there is no chance of it running out after you get a big present to wrap.

Another great alternative is using old magazines and newspaper as a form of recycling. This gives it a busy, eclectic feel and is a good way to reuse your leftover newspapers. And, if you aren’t a big reader, find someone who is in your family that would give you a couple of copies of some older ones.

If you fancy an even more zero waste gift, purchase an abundance of thin scarfs from your local charity shop and use them to make wonderful, alternative wrapping that can be used over and over again. These tend to come in beautiful unique patterns and provide a completely zero waste Christmas.

2. Ribbon alternatives

If you are anything like me and enjoy making your presents stand out from the crowd with a bit of ribbon, this is a good swap for you. Use a biodegradable twine that will not only fit the shabby chic theme of your presents but will equally make them look perfect. String also works a treat and is way more environmentally conscious then purchasing ribbons or plastic strings to adorn your presents.

3. Bow alternatives

What is a present without a bow? Well, an environmental alternative is to make /forage your own present toppers. A great way to make your own is to use dehydrated lemons/oranges. To make, simply slice your lemons and oranges thinly and layer them on parchment paper and bake on your ovens lowest heat for three hours, until they are dry to touch. Slot them on top of your presents or loop in with the twine to make really unique, pretty gifts.

You can also go out and forage for decorations. Take your shears and get hunting. Holly is found in abundance at this time, just be weary if you have pets or young children who may try and eat the berries! If you’re craving adventure, head out to the woods and find a Christmas tree to take a few smaller branches of, or even better, find the branches on the floor! These will need a couple of days to dry to remove the moisture but after that they are good to go. Again, tuck them under your twine/string and you are ready to gift.

Published by Heather Dalgleish

21-year-old journalism student. Author and illustrator for In Full Bloom Magazine

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