Wrapping paper: Flashy or Trashy?

by Megan Sheridan
Megan is a Social Science and Criminal Justice student and volunteers as a Sustainability Ambassador. She is passionate about creative ways to reduce waste, reusing materials, and advocates for eco friendly and vegan .
You can connect with her via email.

We buy wrapping paper just to throw it away.

Did you know that over 2.3 million pounds of wrapping paper is thrown out each holiday season? Although we can buy recyclable wrapping paper, tape, bows, and other materials used to wrap presents are not.

We can reduce our contribution to waste this holiday season by using recyclable materials around the house instead of buying wrapping paper, which would be thrown out after one use.

Here are some alternatives to wrapping paper we can use to do our part in making this holiday season a sustainable one:


Small sized holiday gift wrapped in old newspaper

Have a bunch of old newspapers sitting around? Using it to wrap gifts is a great way to repurpose it, plus it looks pretty cool.

Used tissue paper and wrapping paper

Person holding a pile of holiday gifts wrapped in reused gift wrapping

As long as it’s not too torn up, we can save the tissue and wrapping we are gifted to reuse it for next year.

Paper grocery bags

Multiple gifts wrapped in repurposed brown paper

We all have a few of these laying around. Either use the bag as a gift bag or cut it up into pieces of paper to wrap.

Old shirts and fabrics

Have an old piece of fabric that would make for a cool wrapping paper? Bundle your gifts in them! You can get creative and make a bow with the leftover material.


Reuse cereal boxes or shoe boxes in good condition to put gifts in. You could turn them inside out and paint them!

Sustainable gift wrapping comes in many shapes, forms, and materials. What will you wrap your gifts in this holiday season?

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