Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas


Traditional methods of gift wrapping presents, although they are recyclable, are also somewhat wasteful.  Most wrapping paper does not recycle well, due to the inks, waxes, and thin plastic coating which is applied to make the paper glossy.  And creating the paper is hard on the environment as well, with many toxic byproducts that create a disposal issue after the paper has been produced.

Traditional gift wrapping methods also overlook the other two Rs.  As a society we tend to focus much more on Recycle than on the other two Rs: Reduce and Reuse. Even if you can recycle the wrapping paper, all that effort and natural resources put into creating something that’s used only once is wasteful.

Brown Kraft Paper

The easiest way to green up your gift wrapping is to use all natural materials which have been minimally processed, and ideally from sustainable sources.  Brown kraft paper is an excellent choice here, because it hasn’t been bleached, dyed, or coated with plastic.  It is the simplest form of paper, and quite attractive as well.

One great way to dress up brown kraft paper is to stamp or paint it with white paint.  You probably have some white paint hanging around the house already!  If not, acrylic paint is a great, non-toxic, non-smelly choice. 

If you can find a source for brown kraft paper made from recycled material, all the better!


If done with flair, a newspaper wrapping job can be very attractive.  Choose different newspapers for different recipients. 

  • For kids, the Sunday color comics are perfect. 
  • The stock market pages have a wonderful graphic punch, and are great to wrap a gift for a businessman or businesswoman.
  • If you are shipping a gift to a faraway place, choose a local paper to give it some interesting flair.  If you have ever un-crumpled newspaper packing material and pored over the news from a distant city, you can see the appeal.  Many small communities have their own weekly or monthly paper – the more local, the better!


Furoshiki is probably the ultimate in eco-friendly gift wrap.  This is the origami-like art of wrapping gifts in a length of cloth.  The cloth can be laundered and re-used as a tablecloth, curtains, napkins, and even as another gift wrap down the line!

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Comments 1 comment

Jeff_McRitchie 5 years ago

I agree that most of the materials used to wrap gifts these days aren't good for the environment. This Hub has some great ideas about how to be more environmentally conscious when wrapping gifts.

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