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5 sustainable ways to wrap your gifts.

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We all enjoy tearing through a beautifully wrapped gift. However, with every gift that’s traditionally wrapped, the single use paper and plastic usually just gets thrown out straight away. 

Now this isn’t the best for the environment, obviously. But it’s also a bit of a waste of your money. We can’t even count how many rolls of wrapping paper we’ve bought over the years, that were never even fully used up… I don’t exactly know where they went, but I know they can be a bit of a pain to store, which means they were probably chucked out during a spring clean.

We love wrapping-paper and the act of wrapping gifts as much as the next person. However, if you like opting for eco-friendly alternatives where you can, this is one area where you can easily reduce your amount of waste, without it feeling like a life-changing inconvenience. In fact, most of these solutions make life easier for you!

1. Furoshiki.

Furoshiki is one of our favourite choices when it comes to sustainable gift wrapping. It’s easy to master and it makes for such beautiful gift wrapping. As Furoshiki utilises a piece of cloth, some people choose to hand over the cloth along with the gift itself, while others choose to hang on to the cloth for their next gift wrapping occasion. Either way, it’s a wonderfully sustainable wrapping choice, as there’s no waste involved. Just some good ol’ reusing and up-cycling.

A little bit about Furoshiki.

Furoshiki is a Japanese tradition that dates back to 710BC. The Japanese used cloth to wrap treasure, carry belongings and protect their clothes while bathing, which is actually where the name comes from. “Furo” and “shiki” meaning “bath” and “to spread”. This style of wrapping has been adopted across the world, and now comes in an endless variety of patterns, materials and techniques for you to choose from.

The Fabric.

Firstly, pick the piece of fabric you’re going to use. There’s two things to note here. One, is that it needs to be big enough to wrap your gift, so aim for something that’s diagonal length is about three times the size of the gift, as you’ll be wrapping from corner to corner. The second thing to note is that while almost any piece of fabric will do the job, you’ll have a bit more difficulty if the material is too slippery (e.g satins / some silk blends), as this won’t provide enough grip when wrapping, folding and tying. On the flip-side, if the material is too thick or stiff (wool blends) , you’ll have a similar problem. Cotton and linen, which are soft yet sturdy, are your best go-to’s for Furoshiki, that’s furo-sure!

If you’re looking to buy some new wraps to start your Furoshiki wrapping journey, Musubi Kiln and Etsy have plenty of beautiful designs to choose from. You can also head to Spotlight for a huge range of fabrics, and even Typo is currently stocking packs of fabric wrapping. Otherwise, take a look around the house! Whether it’s a scarf, tea towel, or pillow case, there’s plenty of everyday items that can be repurposed for Furoshiki gift wrapping.

The Technique.

While there’s a general rule of thumb to follow with Furoshiki wrapping, there’s certainly room for interpretation and individual flare, particularly at the end when you can choose to tuck, fluff or bow-tie the loose ends. Furoshiki will also include some sort of knot, which is a great place for you to secure some extra decoration such as florals and fan leaves.

Here are some easy-to-follow steps to help get you started!

2. Eco-friendly wrapping paper.

What sort of gifting company would we be, if we suggested you abandon wrapping paper all together? No way! We love wrapping paper, and we love wrapping gifts this way. If you don’t want to break from tradition either, there’s a number of wrapping paper brands out there to choose from that share our passion for sustainability.

Take Inky Co. for example. A Melbourne based company that proudly designs and prints ethical, environmentally sustainable wrapping paper, ribbons, belli-bands (more on these below) and gift tags amongst a few other beautiful gift wrapping items.

About Inky Co.

The more we learnt about Inky Co. the more we loved them. Inky Co. wrapping paper is made with 100% solar energy power and is sourced from accredited paper mills that supply international Chain of Custody certified paper products.

Their paper is fully recyclable, as is the packaging and they help to support a community wind farm as well. Now if that’s not sustainable wrapping for you, we don’t know what is!

So, who else just heard the term belli-bands for the first time? It’s like those songs you know every single lyric to, but never actually know the name of the artist. We’ve seen these wrapping bands added to professionally wrapped gifts plenty of times before, but have never really known what they were called. They’re the patterned / coloured bit of paper that wraps around the middle of the gift, sitting under the ribbon, but on top of the wrapping paper (see below). They’re a gorgeous addition to any gift, and they’re a great way to add some life to a plainer wrapping paper.

Check out some of the gorgeous products from Inky Co. below.

3. Up-cycle what you already have.

How many online deliveries have you received that are stuffed with layers of paper and packaging? Sometimes it even seems a bit OTT. You fight through it like a game of pass the parcel, all for a teeny tiny travel size mascara. Well, now you can fold and store that unblemished paper for the next time you need to wrap a gift!

The same goes for when you receive a gift. Unless you’re shredding the paper like an angry cat, you can usually salvage the wrapping paper and if it came with a ribbon, even better! We’ve kept (hoarded, whatever) a draw full of perfectly good ribbons and reused them to wrap gifts. You’ll be surprised at how much you can reuse, if you’re looking for it.

4. Kraft Paper.

Kraft paper is your cheap, eco friendly, blank canvas for gift wrapping. You can opt for the rustic look by adding a little bit of string instead of ribbon. Simple, easy, stunning. Or, get a bit creative, and decorate the paper yourself. You can even draw up a crossword puzzle for the gift receiver to find a little message or their name, hidden within it.

You can also liven up the outside by adding some organic decorations such as lavender, eucalyptus or dehydrated citrus. It’s up to you, so have a bit of fun with it! Here’s some of our favourite ways to level-up kraft paper from basic to beautiful.

5. The Chip Packet Wrap Hack.

Try saying that ten times fast!

We’ve put this at the end, because let’s be honest, this gift wrapping alternative may not be for everyone, but it’s certainly a great way to reuse a piece of packaging that would usually go straight in the bin, without a second thought. Plus, it might help you feel better about the chips you just inhaled! You just need to pick your audience, so this style goes appreciated and not frowned upon.

The process is simple; eat the tasty chips, cut the empty packet down one side, clean the packet with water and soap (no, just licking off the crumbs will not do!), wipe down with a tea-towel, then leave out to air dry and you’ve got yourself a piece of shiny wrapping!

Just remember that you want the shiny silver on the outside! We know we’re using an old chip packet, but the gift receiver doesn’t need to know that…until they unwrap the gift atleast, and by then they’ll be too distracted by the perfect gift you bought from them from their Wrapt About wish list, to care about the chip wrapping!

To sum it all up, there’s more than one way to wrap a gift, and opting for an eco-friendly option now and then is a great way to help reduce the amount of environmental and financial waste that sometimes comes with gifting.

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