9 Most Eco-Friendly Wrapping Paper & Gift Bags

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So you’ve found the perfect eco-friendly gift for your environmentally conscious friend, but something's missing. The gift wrapping of course!

Next you want to wrap it in a way that’s both attractive and sustainable.

Is that even possible? Yep, it sure is!

With a bit of research and some clever upcycling hacks, you can ditch environmentally disastrous traditional wrapping paper.

Now you can wrap presents in eco-friendly wrapping paper or gift bags instead. You won't harm the planet, and your gift will still look fabulous.

Let me show you how...

Eco-Friendly Shop Bought v Eco-Friendly Home Made

Later in the article, I’ll reveal some sustainable alternatives to help you wrap gifts with what you already have to hand or can easily source.

Before I get to that, I’ll run down the best eco-friendly wrapping options commercially available that will both save you time and the planet.

Nine Of The Best Eco-Friendly Wrapping Paper Options You Can Buy

They Say: Wrappily offers a new take on wrapping paper. With the help of neighborhood newspaper presses, we take great patterns and print them on a premium-grade 100% recyclable and compostable newsprint.

We Say: I briefly mentioned Wrappily in my previous article about how to choose an eco-friendly gift.

They sell a wide range of eco-friendly wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, etc., and are my go-to option for quick and easy (yet sustainable) gift wrapping options.

Their paper is double-sided, so you get two designs in one roll.

For me, Wrappily offers the best overall solution to most of my eco-friendly wrapping paper needs. They have a great range, and I can order direct from Amazon for quick delivery.

They Say: Beautify your gift with a thousand-year-old tradition in tree-free wrapping paper from the Himalayas of Nepal. Lokta bush cuttings are cooked into a fibrous mash and then spread by hand over boxed screens and set to dry in the Himalayan sunshine, forming the paper and preserving a beautiful natural texture.

We Say: This tree-free eco-friendly wrapping paper is perfect for wrapping gifts for the special people in your life.

The lokta bush regrows incredibly quickly after being cut. This makes it an excellent eco-friendly raw material for gift wrap paper.

The paper produced by this thousand-year-old tradition is naturally tough and hard-wearing. It can be reused many times.

There are currently 15 color and pattern options available to buy on Amazon.

Mrs. M recently used some star pattern paper from Kathmandu Valley Co. to wrap a copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for our youngest daughter (a massive Potterhead!). The star theme worked well with the wizarding theme.

They Say: Give art, not waste with the Glee Reusable Fabric Gift Wrap from Wrappr! These 100% organic cotton furoshiki-style gift wraps are the perfect eco-alternative to non-compostable, non-recyclable, bound-for-the-landfill wrapping paper.

We Say: Gift wrap made from recycled paper is one way to boost the eco-friendly credentials of your gift game.

Another way is to take paper out of the gift-giving equation altogether. That’s exactly what Wrappr does.

Their reusable fabric gift wrap is made from organic cotton and features beautiful artwork.

When the wrap reaches the end of its usable life (which will be a long while because it’s durable and beautiful...your recipient will want to reuse it as much as possible), it will compost back to nature in 2 - 5 months.

This reusable wrap measures 19.5" x 19.5".

Wrapping something bigger? The Swirl Reusable Fabric Gift Wrap and Joy Reusable Fabric Gift Wrap both measure  29.5" x 29.5" and cost $17.99.

They Say: Natural Quality is our signature and the guiding principle that is infused in everything we do at Hemptique.  We provide high-quality products, and excellent customer service, while also finding ways to give back to the community.

We Say: Traditional sticky plastic tape is another source of plastic that simply has no place on a gift...or anywhere to be honest!

Secure your eco-friendly wrapper paper or reusable fabric gift wrap (or whatever creative eco-friendly alternative you’ve come up with) with this biodegradable hemp fiber cord.

Not only will it keep the eco-friendly theme going...but will also add and splash of color...a final flourish if you like!

They Say: Meet Bee’s Wrap! – a uniquely designed plastic free and eco-friendly reusable food wrap made from organic cotton infused with sustainably harvested beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin.

We Say: This is a neat idea. Wrap a gift in eco-friendly reusable food wrap that your recipient can wash and reuse to wrap food for many years to come.

Bee’s Wrap is a B Corp and Green America certified business that takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously.

These wraps are made from GOTS-certified organic cotton and are available in four different designs (Bees + Bears, Honeycomb, Ocean, Fruit).

They Say: STRETCHY FABRIC WINE BAGS - Perfect for short-wide bottles or tall-narrow bottles. BE CREATIVE...Use Wrapeez for Perfume, Lotions, Cooking Oils, Growlers, Jars, Jewerly, Candles, Gourmet Condiments, Bath and Body and so much more!

We Say: When giving the gift of wine or liquor, you’re usually faced with an awkward shape to wrap and so probably just go for a standard non-recyclable bottle bag.

Wrapeez has a neat solution to this problem. A reusable stretchy fabric bag that will give a figure-hugging wrap to your boozy gift.

They don’t just cover bottles, either. Wrapeez does a full range of eco-friendly wrapping options. Check it out here.

They Say: The honeycomb paper packaging is made of reusable and degradable environmentally friendly kraft paper cushioning material, making nature more green and beautiful.

We Say: An excellent eco-friendly alternative to bubble wrap if you’re wrapping fragile gifts to be sent in the mail.

I reckon it looks pretty cool as standard wrapping...not just as mailer protection.

Wrap the gift tight in this honeycomb paper, tie it with some eco-friendly ribbon or twine, and voila, a unique way to wrap presents that doesn’t cost the earth...financially and environmentally!

They Say: Our burlap bags are designed with cute and vivid patterns, such as reindeer, gift box, snowflake, stars, Christmas tree and so on, these colorful patterns look more pretty and fresh on white background, such a beautiful bag will bring a sense of ritual and beauty to your gifts.

We Say: These reusable burlap bags come in really handy around Christmas time.

Each gift bag measures 10cm x 14cm. They’re perfect for small gifts and homebaked Christmas treats.

The bags are durable, washable, and breathable.

The drawstring makes it easy to secure the gift inside the gift bag without the need for any nasty plastic tape, etc.

Under 15 bucks for 35 bags is a steal in my eyes. Saving the planet and money at the same time. Win-Win!

They Say: Each Box Contains 4 large Flowering seeded gift wrap, 6 Gift Cards and a bundle of Natural Raffia. Each wrap is 24''x36'' in size. Enough to wrap 8 Shirt boxes.

We Say: This is an awesome concept. Simply dig the wrapping paper into the soil and wait for wildflowers to appear.

The gift wrap contains tiny seeds pressed into it. Just wrap gifts like you would with regular wrapping paper.

The reverse side of the gift tag contains full instructions to enable your recipient to have beautiful wildflowers sprouting up in no time at all.

Why Traditional Wrapping Paper Is Bad

Approximately 2.3 million pounds of wrapping paper ends up in the landfill in the U.S. every year.

But...wrapping paper is paper...and we can recycle paper...so why are we throwing it into the trash?

It’s not as simple as that, unfortunately. The fact that wrapping paper is not always just made from paper causes multiple issues for the recycling system.

To Recycle Or Not To Recycle...That Is The Question

Plastics and metallics are adding to some wrapping papers.

This makes them pleasing to the eye but means they cannot be recycled and are destined to sit in landfill, breaking down and leaching nasties into the earth.

A simple way to determine if you can recycle your wrapping paper is the scrunch test.

Scrunch the wrapping paper in your hand. If it stays scrunched, it can more than likely be recycled. If it bounces straight back, then it’s very unlikely to be recyclable.

Sort It Out

When you have a large amount of wrapping paper to dispose of (during the holiday season, for example), please don’t assume that if you tip it all in your recycling bin, it will be sorted by someone, and the recyclable bits will eventually be recycled.

This is not always the case!

Recycling facilities are often over capacity during peak times. So, if you mix recyclable paper with non-recyclable paper, the chances are it’s all just going to be tossed in the trash by the recycling facility.

Help Them Help The Planet

Give the recycling facility a helping hand and ensure that the paper you send for recycling has the very best chance of actually becoming recycled paper.

  • Don’t mix recyclable and non-recyclable paper
  • Remove any bows, tape, tags, ribbon, etc.

Four Of The Best Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Paper Options You Can Make

If you’re feeling crafty, then I have four top tips to help get your creative eco-juices flowing and keep gift wrapping paper out of the trash.

  1. Hoard: Keeping and resuing any gift wrap and packing you receive will help keep perfectly good material out of landfill. Don’t just think wrapping paper, kraft paper, and bottles bags. Think cardboard boxes, jars, dustbags, twine, tissue paper, newspaper, etc.
  2. Repurpose old clothes and materials: Got a flowery blouse, Hawaiian shirt, or old sweater that has seen better days and you no longer wear? Cut it up and make your own fabric wrap, bows, ties, etc. The same goes for old towels, bedding, etc. Just make sure it’s clean!
  3. Hit the thrift store: Old clothes, scarves, tea towels, maps, etc., regularly get donated and can be repurposed as bespoke wrap.
  4. Get inspired by nature: Scavenge free stuff from nature to add to your eco-friendly gift wrapping arsenal. Holy, twigs, Christmas tree branches, and berries, for example, all make excellent additions to eco-friendly wrapping paper during the holiday season.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Kraft Wrapping Paper Eco-Friendly?

Yes. Kraft wrapping paper is made from recycled materials. It’s also strong and durable and can be reused multiple times. However, XOV Honeycomb Cushioning Paper is a better option!

Is Shiny Brown Wrapping Paper Recyclable?

Plain brown wrapping paper is usually recyclable. However, the processes used to make paper shiny more often than not prevent it from being recycled. If in doubt...remember the scrunch test I mentioned earlier.

The Final Word

When wrapping a gift, it’s essential to keep the three Rs of eco-friendly waste management in mind (reduce, reuse, and recycle).

Reducing and reusing the amount of gift wrap we all use will reduce the staggering amount that ends up as trash each year.

Recycling what we can no longer reuse is also important. Do not use anything on the gift wrap to prevent it from being recycled (plastic tape, foil bows, stickers, plastic ribbons, gift tags, etc.).

Swapping out typical wrapping paper for more eco-friendly alternatives such as recycled paper, washi tape, biodegradable cellulose, soy-based inks, etc., will give mother earth a helping hand in her fight against waste.

The act of wrapping presents is kind and thoughtful to the gift recipients...but it also needs to be kind and thoughtful to the planet!

Get In Touch

Where do you buy your eco-friendly wrapping paper? Do you have any clever DIY hacks you’d like to share? Drop me a line and let me know.

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James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.
James Miller
James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.

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