Zero-Waste Gift Wrap

Save money and keep trash out of the landfill this holiday season with these zero-waste gift wrap ideas using compostable or reusable materials instead of traditional wrapping paper.

By Melani Schweder
November/December 2018

We have a rather peculiar tradition in my family.

Each December, as the holiday gifts are unveiled, the wads of gift wrap morph into ammunition to be hurled at unsuspecting loved ones. This annual wrapping paper battle can linger on for hours, and often results in many trash bags filled with waste. Even though these gift wrap wars have gotten smaller over the past few years, they’ve started to bother me more and more.

Photo by Babett Lupaneszku

On my slow journey to zero waste, I’ve begun to notice just how much trash we make on a daily basis. I thought that this realization was overwhelming enough, but then watching the boom of holiday-related debris was the final straw for me. The use-it-once-and-toss-it (literally and figuratively, in our case) mentality of gift wrap suddenly seemed the height of wasteful consumerism. I knew I had to say something. So, over the past three holiday seasons, I have incrementally transitioned to zero-waste gift wrap. When you look at the statistics, it’s easy to see that even these seemingly small changes, when adopted by lots of people, can make a positive impact.

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