Sustainable Gift Wrapping
While the holiday season is wonderful, it can be a strain on your wallet, patience, and the planet.
By Grace Carr, 19/11/2021

While the Holiday season is wonderful, it can be a strain on your wallet, patience, and the Planet. In Australia around 8,000 tonnes of wrapping paper, 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging and millions of dollars' worth of food and electronic waste winds up in landfill.

If you're looking for a more sustainable choice when it comes to wrapping your gifts this year, try these!


Wrapping paper,

The amount of paper used over Christmas is equivalent to hundreds of thousands of trees, this alone is catastrophic but when you consider that most wrapping paper cannot be recycled or reused due to its coating and fragile texture, the situation escalates.

The paper can also contain dangerous chemicals such as lead, synthetic inks, chlorine, and metallic foils. Some even contain formaldehyde, benzene and acetone, these chemicals have been known to cause irritation and, in some cases, cancer. This is because the most wrapping paper is not made in Australia and the brands do not need to follow our chemical guidelines.

The disposal of wrapping paper is difficult, some people choose to toss it or burn it, both mean hazardous waste and toxins entering our eco system, but our options are limited.

Luckily, there are sustainable alternatives to wrapping paper!

Fabric items,

You can try wrapping presents in tote bags, clothes, scarves, tea towels or really anything, this can act as a bonus gift and help create a sustainable cycle as you can explain why you chose to go paperless and convince others to do the same.

Used paper,

If you want the effect of wrapping paper, without the environmental costs, you can wrap you presents in newspaper. This is a cost effective and environmentally friendly alternative to cheap and nasty glittery paper that means you can still rip it up!

Used bags,

It may not be glamorous, but you can wrap gifts in recyclable grocery bags. This was they can be reused or thrown away without impacting the environment.

You can also reuse gift bags from birthdays or any kind of celebration, try buying plain coloured bags instead of themed ones and don’t write on them, this will encourage people to keep the bag and use it for something else. It can be a fun way to create a family tradition of swapping the same bags each Christmas.


While this one may not technically wrap your gifts, it can be a great way to give a little extra and encourage a fun and sustainable habit like gardening! Try finding a medium sized flowerpot and tossing in a bunch of little gifts, it’s like a grown-up lucky dip!


Baskets are a fun way to give gifts. You can grab a decorative basket, storage basket or picnic basket, all will double as an extra gift and sustainable way to give a gift. You can find baskets second hand or brand new. If you can’t find a basket, try a storage tub or tray. Extra storage is always handy!

Recyclable wrapping paper options,

This one is probably the simplest solution but may mean you need to hunt a little. You can find plain brown or white recyclable wrapping paper in major grocery stores, dollar stores and other retailers. Be sure to check if the paper is coated in a film, has decals or glitter on it as this will mean it cannot be recycled. You can also buy printed recyclable and biodegradable options online, but these may cost you a little more. 

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