Dear Dot: Any Ideas for Earth-Friendly Wrapping Paper?

Author:

Category:

Dear Dot,

My 10-year-old daughter is very eco-conscious and doesn’t want her gifts wrapped in anything that isn’t “compostable, recycled, or reusable.” I love the look of brightly wrapped gifts beneath the tree — preferably in coordinating patterns, thanks to being indoctrinated by Martha Stewart over the years. Ideas?

–Evelyn

Dear Evelyn,

In my early 20s, I spent a Christmas morning with my then-boyfriend’s family watching them tear open their gifts like savages. In the corner grew a pile of the now useless wrapping paper, which was later tossed into the fireplace. I was aghast. I had been trained to carefully open my gifts without so much as a tear in the paper, which Mother Dot would carefully fold up and tuck away until the next year, when it would be used to wrap another gift that would be carefully unwrapped. Consequently, gifts we were opening in the 80s came wrapped in paper that dated back to the advent of the women’s liberation movement, which never has freed women from the emotional labor of gift-purchasing and wrapping. But I digress. 

I laud your daughter’s desire to wrap mindfully. 

While some wrapping paper is recyclable (if you can tear it or it stays scrunched up when you crumple it, it’s likely recyclable), plenty isn’t, including anything that’s foil, glittery, metallic, or contains rope or ribbons (such as gift bags). 

Lucky for your daughter — and you with your Martha Stewart ethos — wrapping options are not only sustainable but stylish:

You can opt for perfectly plain, by using Kraft paper that, if it isn’t coated, is both biodegradable or recyclable, or you can purchase recycled Kraft paper. Add pretty ribbon (which can, of course, be reused), perhaps a sprig of holly or a pine cone, and you’ve got gift wrap that’s both elegant and eco-friendly.

If you sew, it’s a cinch to create your own endlessly reusable cloth gift bags — or tap one of the many creative geniuses on Etsy, who are happy to do the stitching for you and sell you their wares. 

I sometimes wrap gifts in a holiday tea towel, or, if it’s food, in Bee’s Wrap (my friend Sarah makes her own). 

Furoshiki is the Japanese art of wrapping using beautiful fabric. It’s a great way to use up old fabric from projects, or repurpose scarves. Or buy up fabric ends, which are typically much cheaper. 

Bluedot’s Marketplace editor, Elizabeth, is enchanted by Wrappily gift wrapping paper. Elizabeth, who confesses to bedazzling wrapped gifts in the past (you’re forgiven, Elizabeth! I pined for a Bedazzler to sparkle up my dull suburban youth) tells us that Wrappily repurposes old newspaper printers to manufacture cheerfully printed designs on 100% recycled newsprint. The wrapping paper can be reused, recycled once again, or composted. And Wrappily offers compostable, biodegradable ribbons and bows.

To wrap up, Evelyn, creating beautifully wrapped gifts is limited only by your imagination. They remain a reality even with an eco sensibility. What’s within that wrapping is, of course, at least as important so be sure to choose gifts with care. 

Got a question for Dot? Let her know here:

    Latest Stories

    Flight School: How to Reduce Your Eco-Impact from Flying

    Wondering how to choose an eco-friendly flight? Bluedot Living's Leslie Garrett shares her best tips for...

    In a word: Psychogeology

    I cannot offer you a dictionary definition of psychogeology because the word is not in the...

    POLL: Would You Buy Solar from Ikea?

    Would you be more likely to purchase solar panels if they were available at a large...

    Humans in Bird Costumes Bring Whooping Cranes Back to Louisiana’s Wetlands

    Eva Szyszkoski grew up on a farm on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where her family always had...

    RECIPE: Chicken Tikka Masala

    Everyone loves Nicole Cabot’s slow-cooked tikka masala, perfectly spiced with fork-tender pieces of chicken. It can...

    RECIPE: Roasted Apple, Pear, and Beet Salad

    This is the time of year to focus on buying and eating root vegetables like beets....

    RECIPE: Roasted Squash and Chestnut Tart

    This savory tart is a colorful festival of autumnal flavors and a portable option to bring...
    Dear Dot
    Dear Dot
    Dear Dot is here to answer all your sustainable living questions from her perch on the porch. Got a question for Dot? Send her a note for a chance to be featured in an upcoming issue.

    Read More

    Related Articles

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here