Five sustainable gift wrapping alternatives

Five sustainable gift wrapping alternatives

By Lucy Jones  December 18th, 2020

Get creative with these eco-friendly and thrifty gift wrapping ideas.


Once you start looking, you'll be amazed at the number of sustainable gift wrapping alternatives you can find around your home (and garden). In addition to being better for the planet, these gift wrapping options are extremely aesthetically pleasing and fun to create! Set aside an afternoon to try some of these out this Christmas.

1. Get creative with old magazines and newspapers

Grab yesterday's newspaper or a magazine that's been sitting on your bookshelf for years and a pair of scissors and get cutting. We used our copy of last month's National Geographic! You can create beautiful effects by layering different images and pieces of text. But why stop there? Complete your masterpiece with a bow by simply choosing your favourite page, cutting it into three equal sized strips, taping two around the gift and looping and securing the last one on top.

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2. Reuse jars and brown paper bags

This one's a no-brainer! For bags with logos on them, you can tape a page from a magazine over the top, or cut out shapes (think: stars, trees, etc.) from another paper bag and glue them over the logo. Magazine pages can also be used to decorate the inside of jars, as seen here with a cute ostrich family. Finally, adorn your bags and jars with some yarn or twine and fallen leaves from your garden. (Second-hand yarn can be picked up for a few dollars from most charity stores.)

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3. Wrap with fabric

Fabric wrapping or Furoshiki has been practiced for centuries in Japan. The beautiful style of gift wrapping is dead simple: just take a piece of cloth, scarf, sarong, towel, or pillow slip (basically anything you can wrap with) fold it around your gift and tie a knot! Fabrics can be kept to wrap future gifts and all other items become part of the present itself.

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4. Reuse packaging

From toilet paper wrappers to chip packets and cereal boxes, product packaging offers up and endless supply of sustainable gift wrapping options. Things like chip packets and cereal boxes can be cleaned and turned inside out, creating a blank canvas for you to work with. Other packaging, like this Who Gives a Crap loo paper wrapping, are pretty enough to stick straight over your gift. (We decorated ours with some second-hand yarn and a dried flower from home!)

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Lucy Jones

Lucy started her career working as a writer and editor in print and digital publishing. She went on to create content for Australia's leading sustainable fashion platform while completing her Master of Cultural Studies. Lucy spends her downtime at the beach, crocheting and hanging out with her cat Larry. She believes words can change the world and is stoked to help Planet Ark spread the message of positive environmental change.

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