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Eco-friendly gift wrapping
Ecommerce holidays Style & trends

6 Affordable Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas to Try This Year

By Reading Time: 5 minutes

In 2020, we at Printful are focusing on sustainability. We’re a print-on-demand service, meaning all products are made only after an order is placed, making it more sustainable. Yet, there’s still a long way to go. This year, we’ve tested numerous plastic packaging alternatives (5620.58 kg of plastic saved) and added 7 eco-friendly products to our catalog. Find out more about the steps we’re taking in our sustainability and responsibility page.

Every holiday season, US households throw away 25% more trash than any other time of the year. A big part of this daunting number 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 excessive amounts of these 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. The small steps towards sustainability matter. 

When you get down to gift-wrapping the personalized gifts you ordered with Printful, start by looking for any reusable materials you have at home. If you don’t have anything useful, check in with your friends and family: they’ll be happy to oblige. 

Let’s start wrapping!

What are the best eco-friendly ways to wrap a gift?

1. Furoshiki

Furoshiki gift wrapping
Source: Pinterest

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:

How to wrap a gift in furoshiki
Source: Invaluable

There are also plenty of other furoshiki gift wrapping ideas out there that cover various kinds of gift types and forms. To get the most out of it, use a piece of cloth you already own—look for forgotten gems in your closet or scarf drawer. 

Tip: To make the wrapping more fancy and add some nice rustling sound, wrap the gift in leftover tissue paper under the cloth. 

If you want to keep it as simple as possible or just don’t have the patience for decorating, furoshiki is the right choice for you. When wrapping a gift in furoshiki, you’ll see that no decorations are needed. Just find a nice cloth, perhaps with a festive pattern, and you’re good to go.

2. Kraft paper

Kraft paper gift wrapping
Source: Dani Noce

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. 

Let your creativity shine when decorating a gift wrapped in kraft paper. To complement the rustic look of the paper, decorate the gifts with some natural materials like pinecones, dried plants, or dried orange slices.

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

3. Gift bags

Personalized eco tote bags by Printful
Personalize our eco-friendly totes to your liking

Finding eco-friendly gift bags is easier than you think. First off, you can use a multi-purpose bag as a gift bag. I’d love receiving a gift wrapped in an eco-friendly tote. Or even better, create a personalized tote bag, and the receiver will use it for years. 

If you’re into crafts, there are ways how you can create reusable and eco-friendly fabric gift bags yourself. Look through your closet for pillow cases, scarves, sweaters you don’t wear anymore, and anything else that can be reused, but doesn’t look old and washed out yet.

Tip: Sweater sleeves make great gift bags for wine bottles.

Save up all the gift bags, gift sachets, and drawstring bags you get and you won’t have to worry about buying new ones and creating more waste. But if you decide to buy a gift bag after all, make sure you purchase something reusable or recyclable.

4. Newspaper gift wrap

Newspaper gift wrap
Source: Shift

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, 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.

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! 

5. Gift boxes

Toilet paper roll gift boxes
Source: Pinterest

This is the time for you to rattle through all your saved up gift boxes and any other reusable boxes you have (for example, cardboard delivery boxes). If they don’t look as good anymore, there are ways to freshen them up. Use eco-friendly colors, kraft paper, newspapers, or saved up tissue paper to make gift boxes look like new.

But there’s also a way to make an eco-friendly gift box yourself. All you need is the inside of a paper towel or toilet paper roll.

What’s great about this gift wrapping idea is that you can leave it to the kids to wrap small gifts as well. It’s quick, easy, and you won’t even need scissors or tape. Just fold both ends of the roll and you’re all done. 

With the right eco-friendly decoration of some leftover ribbons, pine tree sprigs, or anything else you find, it’ll be hard to tell how the gift box was made. (Although, you can always make the receiver guess, and spread the word about eco-friendly gift wrapping at the same time!)

6. Glass jars

Gifts in glass jars
Source: Pixabay

This is another adorable gift wrapping idea where all you need is to look through your shelves to find a glass jar waiting to be reused. If you don’t have any jars at home, remember to save up jars from pickled goods the next time you eat them. Or, again, just ask around—your family and friends will definitely have some spare jars you can use.

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. 

Tip: If you’re short on gift ideas that fit in a jar, try some homemade goods, like jam or eggnog, or small DIY kits.

Save these eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas for 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. Jot down 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? Share them in the comments!

Elizabete is a Content Marketing Specialist who works closely with the New Product Development team and has a more in-depth knowledge about Printful’s products. She has a bachelor’s degree, work experience in several industries, and a passion for the ever-changing art of marketing.


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