Tips on Recycling and Reusing Wrapping Paper

After opening your first few holiday, birthday or baby shower gifts, the wrapping starts to look the same. With all of the work you put into making your gifts special and unique, why not do the same for your wrapping? Try using environmentally conscious wrapping paper for your gifts. From paper to fabric, the sky’s the limit.

Here are some eco-friendly alternatives to traditional, non-recyclable wrapping paper:

  • Newspaper - It’s easy to find, and you can make wrapping fun by using colorful comics or photos.
  • Magazines – These glossy pages will dazzle the recipient of any gift. Tape pages together to create sheets for larger presents.
  • Sheet music – Sheet music adds a whimsical element to your presents. The notes to your gift recipient’s favorite song will surely make their “Top 40″ list.
  • Calendars – Since you’re going to toss your “Chihuahuas of 2008″ calendar anyways, why not use it to personalize a present?
  • Maps – Customize your gift with your favorite places or dream vacations.
  • Brown paper shopping bags and butcher paper – Not only is it recyclable, but this type of paper also lends itself to a fun craft for your kids. Use stamps with ink or paint, or let the kids decorate with markers and crayons.
  • Tissue paper – Save tissue from other purchases, such as clothing, to wrap your gifts. You can even play on the sheer nature of tissue by wrapping your gift in a dark color or pattern, then covering it with a lighter solid for a creative, layered look.
  • Fabric - If you’re giving a gift that includes fabric, such as sheets or a blanket, why not use it to wrap the present itself? Also, fabric pieces or scraps can be used to make bows or ribbons to decorate your gift. If your recipient is a DIY-er, fabric for their next project makes a great wrap.

By taking advantage of some of these products, you not only reuse materials you may already have around the house, but you can also utilize materials that can be recycled once all of the gifts have been opened.

If you’re short on time or the supplies listed above, look for paper made from recycled, organic and/or sustainable materials. Take it one step further by purchasing wrapping paper that contains seeds, which you can plant afterwards.

The Flip Side

While unwrapping your gifts, take care to not tear the paper into tiny shreds. Wrapping paper has a host of reuse options, including:

  • Lining boxes and envelopes
  • Materials for collages
  • Making clothes for paper dolls or other toys
  • Book covers or scrapbook pages
  • Matting for framing photos or artwork