12 Alternatives To Unrecyclable Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper is not recyclable in Connecticut – not even if it’s made from recycled paper. Decorative ribbons, bows, and glitter-laden decor aren’t either. How can you avoid using wrapping paper while keeping the holiday spirit? Here are 12 ways to avoid unrecyclable wrapping paper.

1) Gift an experience, not an object. Besides saving on wrapping paper, gifting an experience eliminates bulky product packing as well. Gift cards, tickets and memberships for things like museums, plays, concerts, a gym, a river cruise or train ride, or restaurants and cafes can be tailored to almost anyone, any age. Or make a donation to a charity in honor of the recipient.

2) Wrapping materials from around the house. Paper options include old maps, newspaper, magazines, old calendars, your child’s artwork, sheet music, leftover wallpaper, or brown paper bags – plain or decorated with your own drawing or painting. If you sew, you probably have fabric scraps you could use. Yarn and twine can be used to secure and decorate packages. Add sprigs from your tree for a seasonal touch.

3) Baskets. Rather than hiding the gifts, turn them into a lovely display in a basket. Visit your local thrift stores to find affordable baskets.

4) Mason jars. Not just for jam and sauce! Anything that would use a small box, such as jewelry, can be placed in a mason jar with fabric scraps, yarn or cotton as packing.

5) Reusable shopping or produce bags. Place the gift in a tote bag or produce bag (available at www.cinderandsalt.com) and you’ll turn the wrapping into a gift that can be used over and over again!

6) Towels, Blankets, Bandanas or Scarves. If you are giving a kitchen-themed gift, wrap it up with a dish towel. Nestle baby gifts inside a soft, new, baby blanket. Gifts for ladies can be wrapped in a pretty scarf. Larger gifts for the home can be bundled in a throw blanket. Tie up a gift for the outdoor enthusiast in a bandana. Here’s a video on how to tie a fabric package: https://www.instagram.com/p/BrbR4EWBllI/

7) Reusable Gift Wrap. There are many options on Etsy for gift wrap that the recipient would be able to use on their next gift.

8) Boxes.
Save the brown boxes from shipments and dress them up with paint, twine, evergreen boughs, or fabric ribbons.

9) Clay Flower Pot.
You can even use a drip tray as a lid, tied with twine.

10) Inside-out Chip Bags. The shiny, silver inside of potato chip bags makes beautiful wrap, and it’s easy to do. Here’s how: https://drawingsunderthetable.blogspot.com/2013/12/potato-chip-bag-gift-wrap.html

11) Reused Gift Bags. If you aren’t already saving the paper gift bags and tissue paper that you receive gifts in, start now and use them for next year!

12) Don’t Wrap. Some people hate wrapping and skip it altogether. A family tradition that you could start at home would be to hide the gifts throughout the house. A holiday scavenger hunt with clues will add fun and teamwork to your family’s holiday.

There you have it – 12 ways to keep wrapping paper out of the trash. What do YOU like to do? Comment below!

Thank you for joining efforts to conserve resources and live more sustainably.



Contributed by Amanda Kenyon.

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