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Jul 25

December 2016: Zero Waste Gift Wrap Ideas

Posted on July 25, 2017 at 8:46 AM by Michlynn St. John

It goes without saying that the holidays are a time when many of us (in a hurry) are tempted to relax our Reduce-Reuse-Recycle regimen and get carried away with the season. Statistics show that 1 million extra tons of waste is generated by Americans between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 25% more than at any other time during the year. It's understandable, but it doesn't have to be inevitable.

A great place to cut down on unnecessary waste is in the materials used for gift wrap. Here are some tips and resources that will add to the quality of your gifts without having to be added to your trash bin.

Reusable Gift Bags

Pplace your packages in a reusable bag that will last for many years to come. Bonus: Make or buy reusable bags that incorporate repurposed fabrics.

Recyclable Wrapping Paper

Traditional wrapping paper is not recyclable. It can contain hard to recycle dyes as well as numerous non-paper additives. Consider using repurposed or recyclable paper, such as the comic strip or sports page from the newspaper, your child's drawings from art class, or the pages of your 2016 calendar.

Tie a Reusable Bow

Ribbon is not recyclable, but it can be reused if it's of lasting quality and can be easily untied and used again. Here are some creative ideas using kitchen twine that can be kept in a drawer and repurposed for any number of tasks.

Put it in a Mason Jar

Much like reusable bags, these darlings of the zero waste movement make ideal containers for edible as well as non-edible gifts and then, in the new year, transition seamlessly into a kitchen pantry staple with infinite reuse potential. Here is one of many many examples found on

Toilet paper rolls cut into spiralsStyro-Don't

It's no surprise that Styrofoam is on the no-no list when it comes to zero waste. But you might not know about all of the creative alternatives to protect packages during shipping. Consider items that are already in your home. Toilet paper rolls cut into spirals, for instance, make springy cushions for your breakables.