Cheap Eco-Friendly Green Alternatives to Wrapping Paper

One of my favorite baby shower gifts to give is bath supplies wrapped up in a towel.
One of my favorite baby shower gifts to give is bath supplies wrapped up in a towel. | Source

The next time that you have an occasion to wrap presents, choose an eco friendly alternative. It is awesome for people to receive wrapping that can be re-used or recycled instead of simply thrown in the garbage. There are so many options out there that will suit a wide variety of gift sizes and shapes, all of which are inexpensive and readily available.

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Paper bags from stores that are in good condition are perfect gift bags. If you don't want a logo showing, cover it up with a sticker, label, or decoration.You can wrap just about anything in newspaper.Check out thi neat bag made out of newspaper.There are so many possibilities for decorating paper bags.Old maps are great for wrapping presents.
Paper bags from stores that are in good condition are perfect gift bags. If you don't want a logo showing, cover it up with a sticker, label, or decoration.
Paper bags from stores that are in good condition are perfect gift bags. If you don't want a logo showing, cover it up with a sticker, label, or decoration. | Source
You can wrap just about anything in newspaper.
You can wrap just about anything in newspaper. | Source
Check out thi neat bag made out of newspaper.
Check out thi neat bag made out of newspaper. | Source
There are so many possibilities for decorating paper bags.
There are so many possibilities for decorating paper bags. | Source
Old maps are great for wrapping presents.
Old maps are great for wrapping presents. | Source

Why use eco friendly gift wrapping?

  • It is inexpensive. One of the primary reasons that I stopped buying wrapping paper is because I don't like spending money on something that is just going to get thrown away. Many eco friendly options are less expensive
  • It does not create waste. In addition to having a smaller cost, eco friendly gift wrapping has a longer life span than traditional wrapping. When most options do get worn out, they can be recycled instead of thrown away.
  • It pairs well with eco friendly gifts. If you will be giving eco friendly gifts, why not complete the packages with appropriately paired wrapping?
  • Unique wrapping adds a personal touch to a present. Every time I have given a baby bath gift wrapped in a towel, I have gotten lots of compliments on it. People appreciate these special touches for gifts.

Gift Wrapping with An Eco- Friendly Flair

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Reusable shopping bags are readily available at many retail outlets.Handmade paper bags.If you can't find a gift box to reuse, you can make one.Wrap up a gift for a family member or close friend with one of your child's pieces of artwork.Many calendars have beautiful pictures that are perfect for wrapping gifts.
Reusable shopping bags are readily available at many retail outlets.
Reusable shopping bags are readily available at many retail outlets. | Source
Handmade paper bags.
Handmade paper bags. | Source
If you can't find a gift box to reuse, you can make one.
If you can't find a gift box to reuse, you can make one. | Source
Wrap up a gift for a family member or close friend with one of your child's pieces of artwork.
Wrap up a gift for a family member or close friend with one of your child's pieces of artwork. | Source
Many calendars have beautiful pictures that are perfect for wrapping gifts.
Many calendars have beautiful pictures that are perfect for wrapping gifts. | Source

8 Eco-Friendly Ways to Wrap Gifts With Newspaper

Frugal, creative gift wrapping paper alternatives

  • Newspaper and other routinely recycled paper. My husband and I don't even subscribe to a newspaper and we still get an ample supply of grocery store ads and local mailings to wrap lots of presents. Don't forget about junk mail, too. Many junk postcards and flyers have pretty colors as well as interesting patterns and fonts.
  • Paper bags and other reusable bags. Many stores sell inexpensive reusable cloth bags that are perfect for presents. If you can't find one that works for your particular gift, consider making one. There are lots of sew and no-sew bag tutorials out there.
  • Old maps. While outdated maps may not serve a functional purpose anymore, they still have a beautiful aesthetic.
  • Fabric. If you sew, this is a great way to use up fabric scraps. You can also opt for pre-made or homemade fabric items such as bags, towels, and small blankets for your gifts.
  • Gift boxes and other reusable boxes. When you get an item in a gift box, most likely the box will be in good condition and can be used again. Additionally, think about Amazon boxes, cereal boxes, Kleenex boxes, and other boxes that you break down for the recycling every month. Many of them just need a little decorating to transform into gift giving materials.
  • Children's artwork. Enlist your kids to help you make some wrapping paper by creating artwork for gift wrapping. This is also a great option for teachers who are working on gifts with their students for any number of different occasions.
  • Old calendars. Similar to old maps, old calendars may not have a functional purpose anymore, but the artwork can be re-purposed. If you can't wrap a gift with a single calendar page, it can still be used to decorate a gift box, paper bag, etc.
  • Wallpaper samples. This may be a somewhat antiquated notion, but if you still have wallpaper samples sitting around your home, use them for gift wrapping.
  • Jars, cans, and pots. Save your old jars, cans, and flower pots for gift giving. You can also pick up old inexpensive glass, metal, and ceramic wares at many thrift stores and garage sales.
  • Old magazines. Much like newspaper and junk mail, you can extend the life of old magazines for gift giving. In addition to wrapping presents with their pages, you can also use them to make coordinating gift tags and greeting cards.
  • A gift in a gift. Go beyond reusable gift wrap and challenge yourself to turn the wrapping into a gift itself. Wrap some inexpensive baby bath products in a homemade blanket or quilt or wrap a set of mittens in a scarf or hat.

Pair your recycled wrapping with an eco friendly gift.

show route and directions
A markerThe Purple Tree -
516 2nd St #101, Hudson, WI 54016, USA
[get directions]

B markerPerpetua: Boutique Oranique -
209 S 4th Ave #1, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA
[get directions]

C markerEco Baby Gear -
2122 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202, USA
[get directions]

*Easy Eco Friendly Shopping Tips*

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Comments 52 comments

carol7777 profile image

carol7777 4 years ago from Arizona

I love all your creative ideas and not only saves money, the planet etc. it shows someone you went that extra step. Great hub..Voting UP+++and sharing


chef-de-jour profile image

chef-de-jour 4 years ago from Wakefield, West Yorkshire,UK

This is a useful contribution to the greening of the planet which in these days of high percentage throwaway must be a good thing. Very well done.

I like the clear presentation and links and the fact that you have given so many alternatives to paper. Food for thought.

My younger sister is having a gift free Christmas this year - or attempting to minimise the number of gifts she gives. She told me she doesn't want anything this Xmas, just a song or two, a drink and cosy warmth from everyone. Post materialist age?


kelleyward 4 years ago

Thanks for the creative ideas on Eco friendly gift wrapping. My two boys have birthdays this weekend so I'll try some of your tips out! Kelley


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Carol, I agree that these gift options show people that you took an extra step to make their gifts special.

Chef-de-jour, thanks! That's awesome about your younger sister. I would love to less emphasis on gifts at Christmas.

Kelley, that's great. :) I hope that it goes well.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Random, I have so many old calendars around. They are so pretty. Now I know how I can use them and they will make a gift look so beautiful. Great ideas and very useful.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

That's great, Dianna! I'm sure that the recipients will enjoy that.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

Clever and very necessary! Loved this!


stillwaters707 profile image

stillwaters707 4 years ago from Texas

I also like to give baby gifts in receiving blankets with a bow. The jar idea is also a good one. Thanks for the hub.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Fantastic. Gross holiday gift wrap paper, has me all yuckee. I like funny papers and souvenir tee shirts. One of my fav's were string connected plant leaves (the card said to double as toilet paper) I also like discarded construction products like tar paper and tevo wrap.

Of course in my younger days the best was lingerie from the gift givers stock. Hey that might be nice for a wife - husband (not the otherway around)

Really good important "green" stuff here.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks much, Audrey!

stillwaters, that sounds like a perfect baby gift.

Eric, all of those alternative wrapping ideas are excellent! I had to laugh at the toilet paper idea.


greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia

I uses newspaper quite often to wrap gifts and some of the colorful ads can come in useful, depending on your gifts. If done and ribbon wrap properly, it will come out well. You have a lot more ideas here and will bookmark this, for future reference.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Like teaches, I didn't think of old calendars! I never know what to do with them. I hate to throw them away. Thanks! Great ideas! Pinning!


eHealer profile image

eHealer 4 years ago from Las Vegas

I love the gift in a gift! Excellent ideas and just in time for the holiday season around the corner. Voted Up!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

greatstuff, that's awesome about your newspaper gifts. You're right that when it's properly done with some ribbon, it can be quite transforming. So glad that this is helpful for you.

Vicki, I hate to throw away old calendars, too. I really need to start making use of them with gift wrapping more often.

eHealer, thanks! Yes, for sure. These ideas are perfect for the upcoming holiday season.


Julie DeNeen profile image

Julie DeNeen 4 years ago from Clinton CT

Wonderful ideas...as always Rose. Love it :)


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Julie!


KDuBarry03 4 years ago

Wow, I never thought about doing something like this, especially with old calendars! Hmm...I think my sister would love doing something like this since she teaches science and can talk about how green-alternatives are changing our way of life. Great ideas, voted up and sharing :)


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

People have really taken to the calendar idea. Very cool. That is a great thought for your sister. Please pass this on to her if you get a chance. Thanks, Keith!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

Very clever! I've used the colored Sunday comics from the newspaper in the past as wrapping, as well as old maps. We have also cut open large paper grocery bags and decorated them with drawings or stencils.

You've added a lot of good ideas that I've not done before as well, such as the calendar pages.

Voted up, interesting and useful.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

That's great, DzyMsLizzy! Those are all excellent wrapping options. Drawings and stencils are a perfect way to add personalization to grocery bags.


grandmapearl profile image

grandmapearl 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

I absolutely loved these eco-friendly wrapping ideas! How very clever you are; thank you so much for sharing. In the past I have added my own designs to cover store logos on paper shopping bags. I decide on a design and then glue scraps of colorful fabric directly onto the bag. Adding scraps of bias binding hides raw edges. I have bookmarked this and pinned it as well. Nice job! Voted Up, Useful, Awesome and Interesting.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, grandmapearl! You have a lot of great ideas for creative wrapping!


mejohnson 4 years ago

These are great tips. A lot of these items I have in my house & never thought about using them to wrap a gift. Thanks for opening my eyes to these Eco-friendly options, especially so close to the holiday season. Voted up.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

That's great, mejohnson! Have fun gift wrapping this holiday season.


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

Love the reusable bag idea! I use them all the time despite the sometimes evil glances from the cashiers. I also reuse gift bags I have gotten. Useful hub!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Glimmer Twin Fan! That's great that you're able to reuse grocery bags and gift bags.


Pinkchic18 profile image

Pinkchic18 4 years ago from Minnesota

Great hub! I just wrapped my sisters birthday gift in a reusable bag this weekend. I got a cute Paris-themed one from Marshall's and stuffed her gift in there, added some tissue paper and tied bows around the handle with ribbon to make it pretty. Plus she can use it for groceries now! :)


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Pinkchic! The gift that you put together for your sister sounds great. Both Marshall's and T. J. Maxx have some really cute reusable bags. I'm sure that your sister will enjoy that.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I wrapped a friends gift in newspaper 37 years ago as a joke but now I do it to recycle. I very rarely will buy gift wrap or cards anymore as like you say it is such a waste only to be tossed in the garbage.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

That's great, Just Ask Susan! Anything that you can do to wrap gifts that doesn't create garbage is a plus.


Suzie HQ profile image

Suzie HQ 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Hi randomcreative,

WOW and double WOW . . . Love this hub!! So many brilliant ways which really gave me great ideas as I love wrapping paper and have in the past ,spent a fortune, but no more! I have been really cutting down and this is a great resource to keep. Love the old calendar idea, the towel for baby gifts, old magazines . . . .love them all great inspirational work!

VU ++++ shared and pinned!


kikalina profile image

kikalina 4 years ago from Europe

Great ideas. Sharing...


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

That's great, Suzie! Thanks so much. Best of luck with your wrapping this holiday season.

Thanks, kikalina!


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

I love, love, love all these ideas. :) Now you've got me thinking about what I can do to newspaper to really give it that holiday flair. Voted up and sharing all over.


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

Great ideas! One of the ones that my brother and I have used back and forth on birthdays is using the colored cartoons from the the Sunday newspaper. I can't remember how we got started on that but it's become a fun tradition for the last 20 or so years. Voted up and sharing:)


adrienne2 profile image

adrienne2 4 years ago from Atlanta

Hi Random, what a wonderful hub of eco-friendly wrapping ideas. The videos are full of tips. I really like the newspaper wrapping idea. Thanks for sharing with the HP community.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

That's great, Cyndi!

Kris, that's awesome. :) What a fun tradition.

Thanks, adrienne!


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

Voted up and awesome! I love your tips for green wrapping paper. Last super clean-up I threw a whole bunch of old maps into the recycle bin. My kids had collected them over the years. Now I am kicking myself. What beautiful wrapping paper!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Dolores! You'll just have to start saving them again so you can try that sometime. :)


ThePracticalMommy profile image

ThePracticalMommy 3 years ago from United States

This is an awesome hub, especially for parents this season who have kids who don't appreciate the gift wrapping on their presents. I also love that it saves money and the environment at the same time. :)


KDeus profile image

KDeus 3 years ago from Florida

Very creative ideas for an eco-friendly way to wrap gifts!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, ThePracticalMommy! That's a great thought about gift giving.

Thanks, KDeus!


Tina Truelove 3 years ago

Voted up, useful and awesome! What great ideas . . . and if you shop wisely, towels and other fabrics are probably less expensive than some of the wrapping papers we use. Great ideas!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Tina! Yes, for sure!


artmusedog and Carol 3 years ago

Wow! Wonderfully informative post and 'spot on' ~ creative!

Carol of (A Creative Harbor) ^_^


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much, Carol!


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

I will be going to a baby shower in a couple of months, and I love the idea of wrapping baby gifts in a towel. Clever! I think I'll do that!

Thank you for all of the wonderful ideas!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

That's great, Kathryn! Thanks. :)


carter06 profile image

carter06 3 years ago from Cronulla NSW

Missed this one before Random..glad to have it now though..love your ideas especially wrapping in towels for baby showers and old maps..so cool..cheers


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much, Carter! I'm glad that you have this resource now. :)


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

Love this. Using clever recycled items or gifts within a gift wraps for gifts makes the gift that much more special.

It also teaches young ones early that the wrapper does not need to be a throw away.

Thanks for sharing.

Sending Angels your way today :) ps


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, pstraubie! I agree with you about both of these points.

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    Rose Clearfield (randomcreative)1,377 Followers
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    Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.



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