10 Reusable Wrapping Paper Ideas For A Waste Free Holiday


November 4, 2022


These reusable wrapping paper ideas are creative and perfect for wrapping pretty presents this holiday season without all the waste.

reusable wrapping paper with fabric

Reusable Wrapping Paper Ideas For Eco Friendly Gift Giving

Wrapping gifts around the holidays or for any other yearly celebration can be a fun tradition and a creative part of gift-giving, however, it comes with some unintended consequences. According to Sundale Research, in 2017 alone Americans spent more than $12.7 billion on gift wrap which included wrapping paper, tissue paper, and gift bags. On average, these items were thrown away within 60 seconds — that is a huge waste (both economically and environmentally) and it’s time we came up with a better reusable wrapping paper alternative.

Most Wrapping Paper Isn’t Recyclable

While many environmentally conscious folks may think they are doing something good for the environment by recycling their wrapping paper after the holidays, most wrapping paper actually isn’t recyclable. Because of the thinness of the paper and the variety of inks, foils, and sparkles that are added to the paper many recyclers won’t accept wrapping paper.

But it’s not just the wrapping paper that’s the problem. Gift bags cause similar issues and often can’t be recycled, while tissue paper is too thin to be recycled in most recycling facilities, and tape used for gift wrapping is made from plastic — not to mention the excessive waste that all of the following items create for a very short use-lifespan.

10 Reusable Wrapping Paper Ideas For A Waste Free Holiday

Instead of opting for your usual wrapping paper, this year think about using one of the following reusable wrapping paper options for a more sustainable gift giving experience you can feel even better about.

Want even more eco-friendly holiday ideas? Check out these minimalist and nature inspired Christmas decorations.

Furoshiki Gift Wrapping

Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese tradition that is ancient reusable wrapping paper option for wrapping gifts and carrying goods from place to place. While you can make your own furoshiki cloth gift wraps, there are also options to buy them if you prefer. What I love about this option as a reusable wrapping paper idea is that you can make your wrapping paper multipurpose by turning a linen tea towel into the perfect reusable gift wrapping option that they can reuse later.

reusable wrapping paper made from blue fabric


reusable wrapping paper with fabric


reusable wrapping paper from fabric


Reusable Bags And Boxes

Another great reusable gift wrapping option that is the ultimate waste free solution is to use a bag that can also double as a gift. I personally love using straw bags that would be great for the farmers market or cloth flour bags that can easily be printed with festive designs. This is another reusable wrapping paper idea that turns your wrapping paper into part of your gift!

Reusable flour bags for reusable gift wrapping

Cotten Bread or Flour Bags – PINTEREST

straw gift bag

Consider using straw or woven baskets for your gift giving that can be reused over and over again. This bag above from Ten Thousand Villages is one that I personally use all the time.

Recycled Brown Paper Wrapping Paper

Brown paper packages tied up with strings — are another great option that can be recycled if you are looking for a more ‘“traditional” but still eco-friendly wrapping paper. I love how the following brown paper options below used creative natural and drawn decorations to avoid unnecessary waste from commercially bought ribbons. Bonus points if you use brown paper from grocery bags that you already have at home!

While your loved one may or may not choose to reuse this brown craft wrapping paper, at least if they do throw it away it can actually be recycled, unlike virtually all commercial wrapping papers that just end up in landfills.

reusable wrapping paper made from brown craft paper and splattered white paint

Snowy Brown Paper Wrapping Paper by Jasmine Dowling

reusable wrapping paper made from craft paper with DIY white polka dots

Polka Dot Wrapping Paper From The House That Lars Built

DIY reusable wrapping paper made from craft paper with painted black bows


reusable wrapping paper made from craft paper with handmade orange slices


reusable wrapping paper made from craft paper with hand drawings


With these more eco-friendly and reusable wrapping paper ideas as inspiration, I hope you opt to skip the store bought wrapping paper this year and choose to start a more sustainable gift giving tradition.

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Meet Meg

Mom of two, and registered dietitian specializing in prenatal, postpartum, and infant wellness. My passion for supporting moms and babies began more than a decade ago, but nothing made me more committed to helping moms and babies thrive than going through my own pregnancy and postpartum journey.

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