Gift Wrap: 4 Eco-Friendly Ideas

Whew! We made it through Thanksgiving craziness, and chances are a lot of you guys are making that holiday gift list and checking it twice. If you’re trying to have an ethical holiday, you don’t want to spoil it by giving your fair trade or handmade gift wrapped with new, single-use wrapping paper!

We generate over 25 percent more trash during the holidays, and that adds up to billions of tons of waste every year, just during the holiday months! If every household wrapped just three of the gifts we are giving in reusable giftwrap or reused a meager two feet of ribbon, we’d divert enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields and 38,000 miles of ribbon from the landfill.

Sure, recycling gift wrap is greener than tossing it in the trash, but not buying disposables in the first place is the best option. What I love about eco-friendly gift wrap is that the wrapping so often becomes part of the present! Need some ideas to ditch the new gift wrap this year? Check out our eco-friendly gift wrap ideas!

Up Next: Reusable Fabric Gift Wrapping Techniques

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by lirontocker

1. Furoshiki

Furoshiki is a Japanese gift wrapping method that uses beautiful fabric in place of disposable paper. There’s a little bit of technique involved in furoshiki wrapping, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a breeze! No ribbon, tape, or sewing required – just wrapping and tying knots. Check out this video for some helpful furoshiki wrapping techniques to wrap different types of gifts:

The average furoshiki is around 27″ square, but you might need larger or smaller, depending on the gift you’re wrapping. You can find furoshiki wraps online, but pretty much any sizeable piece of fabric will do the trick. Vintage scarves, tea towels, and large cloth napkins all make great furoshiki wrappers.

Up Next: Fabric Gift Bags

fabric gift bag

2. Fabric Gift Bags

If you don’t want to deal with wrapping techniques but like the idea of cloth gift wrap, you can use fabric bags for your gifts. Treat these juts like you would paper gift bags. You can really use any flat-bottomed tote that’s the right size for this method, or you can make your own! Check out this tutorial for instructions on how to make a reusable fabric gift bag.

Related Reading: The Dirty Side of Cotton

Sewing not your thing? No problem! You can find lots of handmade, organic fabric gift bag options on Etsy.

Up Next: Vintage Gift Wrap

photo by Becky Striepe

vintage gift wrap

3. Vintage Gift Wrap

Vintage gift wrap is sort of a compromise between reusable and disposable – chances are, it’s still headed to the recycling center after the gift’s unwrapped, but at least you didn’t buy new. I like to use vintage gift wrap when I know that my recipient will appreciate its beauty. Often, they’ll carefully unwrap it so they can save the paper for future craft projects! To make this easier, go easy on the tape when you’re using vintage gift wrap.

You can find vintage gift wrap on…you guessed it!…Etsy. I don’t get any compensation for recommending Etsy – it’s just such a great resource for handmade and vintage goodies that it’s become my go-to for those kinds of things. You can also check yard sales and estate sales for pretty vintage gift wrap.

Related Reading: 15 Ways to Reuse Newspaper

Another way to make your vintage gift wrap last is to use it to line a reclaimed box, so your recipient doesn’t have to tear in to get to the gift – just lift the lid. They can keep the wrapped box to use again or to store things like craft supplies.

Up Next: Reusable Containers

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by bokeh burger

mason jar gift

4. Reusable Containers

It’s so much fun shopping for containers that can become part of your gift! Many years ago, my mother-in-law gave me a present in a pretty, square yellow tin. I have no idea what the present was, but that tin still sits on my desk holding office supplies, and I think about her every time I see it.

Related Reading: 7 Gifts You Can Make in a Mason Jar

Here are a few ideas for reusable containers to wrap your gifts:

  • mugs
  • baskets
  • Altoids tins
  • mason jars
  • metal tins or buckets
  • cookie jars

Really, this list could go on for ages. Part of the fun with this method is getting creative, so have fun with it!

Do you have any eco-friendly gift wrap planned for this holiday season? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Cuttlefish


Ganaisha Calvin
Ganaisha Calvin4 years ago

interesting ideas

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago


Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago


a             y m.
g d c5 years ago


Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

Tahnk you.

Tania S.
Tania S5 years ago

Awesome! Loving the furoshiki, so artistic, almost like fabric origami lol

Thorn Briar
Past Member 5 years ago

Thank you for these ideas

Anna M.
A M5 years ago

Fun ideas!

Magdika Cecilia Perez

reusable containers appeal to me - 2 gifts in one and no trash/wastage! thank you

susan k.
susan k5 years ago

Great ideas I love the Furoshiki the Japanese gift wrapping method ,great article .