white orange and green floral bouquet decor

The 6 best eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas

Planet Keiki is focused on sustainability. To start, all of our products are custom-made by hand for each individual customer. This makes it the the eco-friendly way to fulfill orders. Yet, we are always looking for new ways to further our sustainable efforts. Find out more about the steps we’re taking in our commitment to sustainability and responsibility.

Every holiday season, US households throw away 25% more trash than any other time of the year. A big part of this includes the materials used for gift wrapping. The shiny and glittery wrapping paper, ribbons, and plastic bows can’t be recycled and end up in landfills.

The biggest problem is buying non-recyclable wrapping materials and decorations, and then throwing them out once the gifts are unwrapped. If each family in the US wrapped just 3 of their holiday gifts in reusable materials this year, it’d save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. Small steps towards sustainability matter. 

When you sit down to wrap the gifts you got on our site, start by looking for any reusable materials you have at home. If you don’t have anything on-hand, check in with your friends and family: they’ll be happy to oblige.

1. Furoshiki (wrapping with fabric)

gift wrapping with fabric woman wrapping gifts on a white background

Furoshiki is a Japanese wrapping cloth traditionally used to carry around belongings, but has now become a popular eco-friendly gift wrapping method in other cultures as well. To wrap a gift in furoshiki, all you need is a two-sided square cloth and some basic folding skills. Here’s a simple way to wrap a gift in furoshiki:

For books and boxes…

How to wrap a book in a furoshiki

For wine bottles…

How to wrap bottles in a furoshiki

Tip: To make the wrapping more speical and add some natural gift toppers (see below). 

2. Kraft paper or brown paper bags

gift wrapping eco-friendly ideas handmade kraft paper wrapping handmade with love planet keiki sustainable living

Most types of wrapping paper can’t be recycled. The shiny, laminated paper, and anything glossy, glittery, and metallic-looking contaminates the whole batch if thrown together with recyclable paper. This is where kraft paper comes in—it’s biodegradable and recyclable. You can even repurpose paper bags from the grocery store to go extra green!

Let your creativity shine when decorating a gift wrapped in kraft paper. To create a unique pattern, use DIY fruit and vegetable stamps with non-toxic inks like these found below. 

Keep present-packing sweet and simple with a roll of butcher paper and a spool of raffia string. Complement the rustic look of the paper with some natural materials like pinecones, dried plants, or dried orange slices; add a branch of greenery from your tree for a pop of color and a festive scent. 

Tip: Remember to go tape-free to keep it eco-friendly.

3. Floral gift toppers

gift wrapping eco-friendly ideas floral toppers planet keiki sustainable living

This no frills, minimalist approach to gift wrapping is perfect for any occasion. Use some linen to wrap your package then add floral or greenery to top it off. 

This technique is very easy to do and it looks divine. 

gift wrapping eco-friendly ideas floral toppers how to step 1 planet keiki sustainable living

Slice a piece of floral foam about 1/2″-3/4″ thick. You don’t want it too thick or it will show too prominently. It’s okay if a bit peeks through as the greenery will disguise it, but you don’t want a big thick piece. Trim the rectangular slice to the size you want your topper to be.

gift wrapping eco-friendly ideas floral toppers how to step 2 planet keiki sustainable living

Cut bits and pieces of florals, greenery, dried flowers, berries, and whatever you can find or forage to use. Choose fuller pieces that will act as a base to cover the foam, then add sticks & spindly bits to give it shape. 

gift wrapping eco-friendly ideas floral toppers how to step 3 planet keiki sustainable living

To affix your lovely topper to the box you can gently tie it on with twine, or use a strong double-sided tape to stick it on. If you’re traveling with the gifts, it’s probably better to attach your toppers once you get to your destination!

Tip: If using fresh flowers, keep them in a vase until the day of, then stick them in as a finishing touch.

4. Newspaper gift wrap

gift wrapping eco-friendly ideas handmade newspaper wrapping planet keiki sustainable living

While more people are switching from printed newspapers to digital news, there are still 28.6 million copies of newspapers printed daily. And many of us have our own share of newspapers lying around at home waiting to be reused and recycled. 

There are quite a few ways to make this simple and thrifty idea into something meaningful. For example, sew the sheets together, then add stitching and texture for a unique design your giftee will love. You can also go through your stack of newspapers and look for an interesting or funny article that complements the gift you’re giving. Or find an unsolved crossword puzzle and use it as a place to write your holiday greetings.

Feeling extra inspired? Try making your own bows out of recycled paper, like these.

Even if you don’t have any newspapers, someone you know definitely has a pile of them at home. Ask your friends or family to share some of the newspapers they don’t use anymore, and in exchange, share your gift wrapping idea with them. They might try it out as well! 

Tip: No newspaper? Old magazines, books and maps are great alternatives!

5. Gift bags and boxes

gift wrapping eco-friendly ideas handmade fabric bags planet keiki sustainable living

Finding eco-friendly gift bags is easier than you think. First off, you can use one of our eco-tote bags so your giftee can replace plastic and paper bags for years. It’s the eco-friendly gift wrap alternative that keeps on giving!

If you’re into crafts, there is an easy way to create reusable and eco-friendly fabric gift bags. To try it yourself, check out this tutorial from Alanda Craft on YouTube

You can also look through your closet for pillow cases and scarves, or anything else that can be thoughtfully repurposed into gift wrap.

Save up all the boxes, gift bags, sachets, and drawstring totes you get throughout the year. Use eco-friendly paints, kraft paper, newspapers, or saved up tissue paper to make your boxes look like new. This way you won’t have to worry about buying new ones and creating more waste. If you decide to buy gift boxes or bags after all, make sure you purchase something reusable or recyclable.

Tip: Upcycled sweater sleeves make great gift bags for wine bottles! Just hand stitch the bottom edge and tie a pretty ribbon around the bottleneck.

6. Glass Jars

gift wrapping eco-friendly ideas handmade glass jar gifts planet keiki sustainable living

Whether you fill them with homemade sweets or DIY beauty treats (like bath fizziessugar scrub, or homemade scented candles) glass jars make the perfect eco-packaging for gifts. Save a variety of sizes, from pasta sauce and jam jars to empty baby food containers or larger pickle jars. Then, wash and dry thoroughly and remove any stubborn labels. Add a personal touch by decorating the jar with some cinnamon sticks, candy canes, eucalyptus leaves, or carved wooden decors. If you have some leftover pieces of cloth from furoshiki wrapping, use them to cover the top of the jar and tie it up with twine. 

The best part? Once your giftee has enjoyed its contents, the jar can easily cleaned out and reused. This is yet another gift that keeps on giving-especially to the planet!

Tip: Create snow frosted glass for a wintery look!

Pin these eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas for gift giving occasions all year round

Once you’ve used these cute gift wrapping ideas to make your holiday celebrations more eco-friendly, make it a habit for all gift-giving occasions. Now you’ll have saved up materials to use whenever needed. Screenshot the ideas you liked the most, try them out again, and share with your friends and family.

As said before, we’re on the path of becoming more sustainable, but we also know that every small step counts. That’s why, while working on our own plans to become more eco-friendly, we want to encourage you to take these steps as well.

Do you have some creative eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas? Let us know!

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