We wrap gifts all year round, but during the winter holiday season alone, there’s more than 4 million tons of wasted wrapping paper and bags. Most of us toss the wrapping paper after tearing it off the gift, but what if you could find other uses for it? Could we reduce the amount of gift wrap waste each year?

This video is brought to you by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), the voice of the recycling industry.


Reuse Wrapping Paper

If you have large pieces of paper, consider the following ideas to make your life better, prettier, and more festive … all year long:

  • Wrap books to brighten up the bookshelf
  • Line drawers or the back of cabinets
  • Line trays for party decorations
  • Make it art … frame it!
  • Wrap pencil holders, clipboards, and more to make it decorative
  • Scrapbooking decorations

What about all those “unusable” pieces that are too small to do anything with? Don’t throw them out … shred them! They’re great for confetti or packing material for fragile items (for storing or shipping).

If all that’s too much, and you don’t want to deal with all the extra wrapping paper, just use alternate methods to wrap presents in the first place:

  • Old maps
  • Tissue paper
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines
  • Old sheet music
  • Fabric
  • Paper bags or old chip bags — inside out

Do you have a great idea for sustainable gift wrapping?

Editor’s note: Originally published on May 21, 2015, this article was updated in December 2019.

By Luria Petrucci

Luria hosts both Earth911TV and GeeksLife. You can find her at the intersections of fun, green living, technology and the geeky lifestyle. She enjoys learning alongside you on how to make life better, easier, greener and more efficient!