Sustainable Gift Wrapping for All Occasions

Home, Parent Life, Sustainability

When it comes to gift wrapping, I used to fall into one of the following camps:

  1. I have wrapping paper, but it’s themed (Christmas/birthday) and doesn’t fit the need I need right now (occasion and/or recipient)
  2. I have the right wrapping paper, but not enough of it to wrap the gift/s
  3. I don’t have any suitable wrapping paper and need to go buy a roll (and tape) while on my way to the event
  4. Screw this, just use a gift bag. Wait, I don’t have any tissue paper. FML.

It was annoying and wasteful, which just made me even more frustrated. Like most people, I don’t have unlimited space to store a Paper Source’s worth of cute wrapping paper in my home. My closets are filled with linens, craft supplies, and clothes. Wrapping paper ranks pretty low on the storage priority list. It’s also really expensive, shockingly expensive given it’s only going to be ripped apart and thrown away.

There had to be a better, more sustainable way.

Wrapping Paper

I scoured the internet and landed on my perfect solution: brown craft paper. Yes, it is plain and boring. BUT, it’s made from 100% recycled materials, works for any occasion and recipient, can be used as coloring/craft paper and other house projects, and can be repurposed after use. Another added bonus is that it can be purchased in bulk and will match another roll perfectly, so there’s less of a chance you won’t have enough on hand. The neutral brown allows you to customize any gift/package with ribbon and/or bows depending on the occasion and recipient. Win-win-win- win!


My next search led me to find eco-friendly paper tape made from brown craft paper. I love this stuff for so many reasons, but mostly because it’s easy to tear and works well with my wrapping paper. It also blends in nicely, and since it’s recyclable, I don’t have to separate it from the paper before the whole things gets recycled.


For the final step in any gift wrapping process, ribbons, bows or other accoutrement add a visually appealing touch. I love to use multi-colored compostable twine. It’s perfect for adding a touch of color and better for Mother Nature than plastic-based alternatives. I purchased the 11-yard, multi-color pack linked above over a year ago and so far it’s lasted two Christmases, countless birthdays and several housewarmings. When the gift has been opened, I pull aside the twine to reuse or compost.

While my wrapped gifts are not the most shiny or flashy, they do make a statement in their simplicity. Choosing this less common route also opens up a conversation about sustainability; one I’m always up for having. How do you bring sustainability into gift giving? Do you have alterative gift wrapping methods that are good for Mother Nature? I’d love to learn from you!


Making a Swaddle Quilt

One of my favorite aspects of newborn life was wrapping my son and daughter up in those super soft swaddle blankets. Made from muslin and printed with adorable images, they brought so much comfort to those early days. Each time I wrapped them up I remember thinking, ‘I would really love being wrapped up in…

Creating a Zoom Worthy Home Office

When my partner and I moved to a new city in 2016, I had to find a new job. Thankfully, I found a position within my current organization that allowed me to work remotely. Most of my new team was based in New York, with a handful of us working all across the country. Adjusting…

Our Compost Bin Make Over

We started backyard composting back in 2018 and have never looked back. For the longest time, we had a fancy compost pail that sat in our second sink. It would fill up quickly and took up enough space that we stopped using the sink for anything other than compost. I hated the cluttered look and…

2 thoughts on “Sustainable Gift Wrapping for All Occasions

  1. Love this! You have really inspired me to “clean” things up! This is probably a dumb question, but if we decorate/color the paper – is it still recyclable ?


    1. Not a dumb question at all – thank you for asking! Paper that has crayons, glitter, glue, paint, stickers, and foam on it can NOT be recycled. Paper with ink on it, like markers and pens, CAN be recycled. The ink is removed during the cleaning process, leaving the paper pulp ready to be reused. The other stuff I listed cannot be removed easily during the cleaning process and contaminates the pulp.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s