A guide to wrapping your Christmas presents sustainably

This article is exactly what it says on the tin, a quick guide on how you can wrap your Christmas presents plastic free and more sustainably!

For most people the standard way of wrapping is to buy a roll of wrapping paper, sellotape and ribbon to batch wrap presents. However, wrapping paper can be made of plastic (if it’s the shiny kind) and is usually sold in plastic, sellotape is plastic, and ribbon depending on the type is also sometimes made of plastic – unsurprisingly nearly none of these materials are recyclable.

While this all sounds a bit bleak there are alternatives: recycled bags/wrapping paper/tissue paper, old newspaper, the retro classic brown paper and jute string, or cloth wrapping. These wrapping types are quick and easy to do and the newspaper and brown paper are the cheaper options if you’re on a budget.

Brown paper can be bought in your local craft store and can sometimes comes unwrapped. Where possible try and check that it’s FSC certified which ensures it’s recyclable. Instead of using sellotape you can use jute string to hold your wrapped present together.

To add a bit of colour and originality to your brown paper you can add your own print. Using a plant based ink you can either rubber stamp some patterns or use the good old potato stamping method (also making it a fun activity for children!).

Alternatively cloth wrapping is another low waste option. You can buy scarves or tea towels in a print that suits the receiver or you can buy material or scarves second hand from a charity shop just put them on a hot wash before wrapping.

We like the Furoshiki (traditional Japanese) method of wrapping items in cloth. It’s easy to do, once you know how, and looks beautiful – admittedly my example isn’t great but it was my first try and the scarf I chose was huge!

Furoshiki wrapping Christmas presents

You can wrap all types of items including bottles, you might need to check the method online or below for the best and prettiest way to wrap.

To make this season as low waste as possible we’ll be shifting our wrapping gradually to furoshiki after our existing paper runs out. Where possible it’s best to use up what you have left rather than throw it away and start fresh next year!


Lauren works for a charity, has been vegetarian for 11 years (newly vegan this year) and volunteers for an animal charity in her spare time. Her favourite eco product is the Face Halo.

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