10 Simple Ideas for Green Gift Wrapping

Glad sponsored this post as part of a campaign about producing less waste. Visit Glad.com for more information.

For the last few years, I’ve been trying to cut back on waste when I wrap gifts. It started with a trip to Argentina over the holidays, where it was nearly impossible to come by wrapping paper. The gifts we wrapped for each other that year were so thoughtful, I saved elements of the packaging to paste in my journal. That led me on a hunt for pretty, eco-friendly gift wrap ideas that reduced what ended up in the landfill. I also learned that brown kraft paper or paper bags don’t contain toxic dyes and are much easier to recycle.

Here are a few cool ideas I’ve been bookmarking for this year:

1. Recycled Paper “Nametags”

2. Recycled Paper Dots

3. Yarn Wrap

4. Calendar Wrapping Paper

5. Craft Paper with Recycled Cloth Flag

6. Candy Cane Bow

7. Lace Wrap

8. Ornament as a Bow

9. Newspaper Bow

10. Newspaper Flower

That’s it! Do you have any pretty ideas for wrapping with repurposed or recycled materials? Feel free to leave links in comments.


27 thoughts on “10 Simple Ideas for Green Gift Wrapping

  1. I try to package presents in useful bags/boxes, or blankets/towels. I’ve got a very successful system for baby shower presents with hooded towels, meaning no wasteful packaging at all. If I do need to use paper, I try to use kraft/butcher paper & decorate it with stamps.


  2. My mother bought a ton of gift boxes on clearance at Target and Michael’s after Christmas on year, and we’ve been reusing those every year since, having a “no wrapping paper” Christmas. I love to wrap presents, but this is so much easier!

    Also, brown kraft paper is the best base for great wrapping. It looks good on its own, and it’s so easy to dress up.


  3. I keep an eye out for fun dish cloths and other small cloth items throughout the year. That + twine = gift wrap that I can throw together at a moments’ notice.


  4. Growing up, my mom would wrap presents in newspaper. Then she would let me decorate the outside with paints, glitter, whatever happened to be hanging around in our craft box. It was so much fun, and I enjoyed personalizing each present. I can’t wait to start this tradition with my own children.


  5. I just want to say thanks for the ’24 Days’ bags. What an awesome idea. My boys (2&4) have a great time with it. We look forward to stuffing them ourselves in the years to come.


  6. For the past few years, I’ve wrapped my gifts in free maps from the US Geological Survey. Every year, the USGS gives away their outdated topographical maps. Add a little red ribbon and you have a beautiful green and red (and eco-friendly) package!


  7. I’ve stopped using wrapping paper all together. For adult presents I use tea towels. For babies I use muslin wraps. And for kids I use beach towels or library bags. If there is more than one present I just put them all in an Envirosax and tie it shut with a ribbon.


  8. @Jen: Usually, you just walk into the map store at the USGS and the maps are out in a big pile. Unfortunately, I stopped by the Menlo Park USGS this afternoon and they had no maps!


  9. We use tissue paper and cloth to wrap but these are gorgeous ideas!! I wish I had time to do pretty wrapping but I like the first idea a lot and may try to do one or two gifts that way.


  10. Beautiful, creative and far more meaningful!

    I’ve had fun “stamping” simply cut potatoes (trees, bells, etc.) with basic white acrylic on either craft paper or the light green stuff used for masking woodwork when painting rooms. (It’s usually near the blue tape at home stores. About five bucks for hundreds of feet.)

    I used to love giving homemade cookies in the old tin coffee cans … until they stopped making them. Fortunately, a “creatively modified” oat meal box works nicely, as well.


  11. I love to use maps as wrapping paper. I pick up big Michelin travel maps cheap at our local yard sales. They are always a hit and make my gifts stand out.


  12. I love to pick up a few extra Baggu bags at my local hardware store when I know I’ve got a wedding or birthday to attend(you get a deal if you buy 3 at once). I put the gift in the baggu and then I put the baggu’s bag in the envelope with the card and make sure they know not to throw away the bag. It’s like an extra gift that I feel really good giving!


  13. Love these! I also like to tape a few festive magazine pages together and use that as a sheet of wrapping paper. Usually turns out pretty adorable.


  14. I use (non-valuable) comic books as wrapping paper sometimes. This only works for small items since the pages are so little. Also, I like layering contrasting papers and having the edges slightly staggered so you can see the ones underneath, though you need to use really thin paper if you’re going to do this because it can be difficult to get into. Patterned, previously used paper is good for making origami with (crinkles won’t really show once you get it folded) and I like using origami as bows.


  15. I sew, so the left over fabric gets turned into bags with draw string tops. These can be reused till they fall apart, keep my scrap fabric bin from overflowing and keeps me from having to find boxes and paper to wrap presents in!


  16. I always bring my own bags to Trader Joes, but I packed my shopping cart, so I got a few extra TJ paper bags. They printed different sizes and designs for gift tags that you can just cut out right on the paper bag. They even added designs on the side with instructions on how-to make your own garland. Just reminded me why I heart Trader Joe’s so much.


  17. These are by far the prettiest alternative gift wraps I’ve ever seen–and I’m old! This year I tried another blogger’s suggestion: Wrap the presents in a colorful reusable shopping bag and tie with ribbon. I used the Post Office holiday bag that matches one of their holiday stamps. They’re okay, but not as pretty as I would like.


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