My often difficult, pain in the b-side younger brother doesn’t use Christmas wrapping paper. Now initially I thought this was just another case of him not wanting to fit in, not conforming, or not being bothered to make an effort on our presents. And maybe part of that was true at some point, but as he has matured into someone with a strong environmental conscience it has become clear that there was more than I thought to this behaviour. I had never thought before he pointed out to me about the huge amount of waste that we create over Christmas, or other seasonal holidays, and how wrapping paper is really a massive waste of resources, and is all that room in landfill really worth it for the seconds it takes to rip it off?
Now some of his actions that are based on consideration of the planet I don’t intend to take on; for example his veganism, and maybe I will do another post on my thoughts on this, but making an environmentally sensible decision on how to wrap my Christmas gifts seems like a very simple action that I can take, and if I can convince a couple more people to think about it this season then even better.
So as I see it there are a few choices in terms of wrapping presents environmentally. Firstly there is reusing what you have already received – I sometimes keep especially nice paper from gifts a receive – the really thick stuff that doesn’t seem to even crease! And I know my mother also collects up all the pretty sparkly ribbon to reuse on future years – I used some of this at the weekend for my Christmas crafts mentioned in my last post!
Secondly there is the option that I suspect my brother takes, although perhaps I wrong him, of using whatever happens to be lying around the house – brown paper if you have it, left over paper scraps, fabric even, or the paper bags from the Christmas shopping trips! Perhaps this is the best option as it is also financially sensible, but I am not ready to give up my pretty wrapped up presents to go under the tree, so this isn’t the option for me.
The third option is deliberately sourcing environmentally friendly paper – and there is loads out there! I did a quick google search and so many things came up. For a starter I found the following blog post from last year which also raises the issue of the huge amount of celotape that we use over Christmas that is also non recyclable – but don’t panic – there is an alternative option to this too!
Here are three of the wrapping paper websites I found, I can’t assess how good they are as I am yet to use them, so you will have to experiment yourself:
Green field paper not only have 100% recycled paper but also use soy based inks for printing rather than standard petroleum ones – even better!
Based in London, this company has been selling 100% recycled paper with vegetable ink print since 2011 and claims to only work with other companies with similar ethical and environmentally friendly practices. I have bought some from this website as it is UK based compared to the US ones below. Wrappily does ship to the UK I just felt this was slightly counterproductive to my environmentally friendly choice…
Its not cheap, compared to wrapping all your presents from 2 rolls you got for 99p. I will continue my hunt for cheaper paper.
This website sells 100% recycled newsprint, also with soy ink, with some funky patterns, and it comes with some shocking stats on its home page:
- wrapping paper and shopping bags contribute to 4 tons of waste in the US alone every year
- Over the holidays, about 227,000 miles worth of wrapping paper get thrown away—enough to circle the world 9 times!
- Most wrapping paper cannot be recycled because it’s dyed, laminated, or contains non-paper additives.
There are of course other sources out there, and in fact other options I havn’t mentioned – making the girt themselves the wrapping, using funky pots, reusable pretty boxes, and I’m sure hundreds more creative ideas, I even saw one person suggesting using plant pots! But I just wanted to throw the thought out there that it wouldn’t be too difficult to source ecofriendly wrapping paper this year 🙂