The gift wrap industry is a big business – consumers spend almost $2.6 billion annually on the paper, bags and trinkets that adorn our presents. According to Eco-Chick.com, if every American family wrapped just three presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
Wrapping paper and shopping bags alone account for about 4 million tons of trash annually in the U.S. To top it off, traditional wrapping paper is not recyclable. We repeat: Do not put your wrapping paper in your recycling bin. The laminates, non-paper additives (glitter and plastics) and tape that cover our wrapping, along with its lack of quality paper fibers, make it a poor fit for your recycling bin.
If you’re looking to save money and reduce your environmental impact this holiday season, there are a number of eco-friendly choices when it comes to wrapping.
Recycled and Recyclable Paper
While most traditional wrapping paper isn’t recyclable, innovative brands have released product lines that are not only made with recycled content, but can also be tossed in your recycling bin after your presents are opened. We love the wrapping paper and greeting cards from Ecosaurus. Beyond the great name, its products are great for the planet, with paper printed on 100 percent recycled content from 50 percent post-consumer waste.
Also, Fish Lips Paper Designs has a line of fun, funky holiday papers that are printed in the U.S. and on 100 percent recycled paper with soy-based inks.
While reusable bags are all the rage in your local grocery store, reusable gift bags and wraps are picking up steam at a rapid pace as well. WrapSacks sells cute reusable holiday gift bags at a great price.
If you want to go the fancier route, these Furoshiki Silk Wraps from VivaTerra are lovely and can be reused as a scarf or table decor. They are a bit pricier, but are oh-so-pretty!
Don’t Buy Anything
We’re serious here. Are you giving a scarf or blanket as part of a gift? Use some twine or fancy knots to wrap the rest of your gift inside these (basically) large pieces of fabric.
If you’d still like to pursue the paper wrapping route, we love the look and feel of newsprint as an easily recycled and cheap alternative to traditional wrapping paper. In fact, a friend of Earth911 only wraps her gifts in newspaper, picking special sections, photos and stories that reflect the recipient.
No matter the route you take, the trends in gift wrap for this holiday season are in, and cheap and chic top the list of easy, green ways to reduce your impact.