Does your family love giving gifts but hates the rubbish bin full of packaging and wrapping paper?  You usually can’t recycle metallic wrapping paper or ribbon – so it all goes straight to the landfill.

New Zealand has one of the highest rates1 of waste production per capita in the developed world and there’s a reported 15% increase in people taking waste to the tip in December and January.

You can say no to waste –get that feeling of joy from enthusiastically opening a wrapped gift by switching to more sustainable option.

Top 7 sustainable ways to wrap your Christmas gifts

  1. Spare scraps of fabric, tea towels or old scarves or vintage fabrics can make gorgeous cloth wrappers - the art of furoshiki has been used in Japan for over 1200 years and means you can reuse your wrapping year after year. The wrapping can become part of the gift. You can usually buy scraps of fabric at thrift stores.
  2. Re-use wrapping paper, ribbons and other decorations.
  3. Paper grocery bags are simple, rustic and fun – and something children can decorate. You can write a handwritten note on the bag.
  4. Old newspapers – a funny headline can make opening the gift more personal.
  5. Baskets – these can be re-purposed after Xmas for storage.
  6. Jars and tins – save pretty ones during the year to use at Xmas.
  7. If you really like conventional wrapping paper, look for sustainable and re-usable options.

Decorating your gifts

You usually can’t recycle bows and ribbons but you can re-use them.

Another option is using dried flowers, pressed flowers, wool pom poms, confetti paper/leaves – or you can decorate your gifts with greenery from a tree in the garden.

If you are feeling crafty, DIY clay ornaments can be tied to your gifts.

Try it out with these instructions(external link)

1According to OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: New Zealand 2017