Brits turn to sustainable gift wrapping with advice from NLWA


Reusing items in our homes instead of buying single-use wrapping paper this Christmas may seem like a drastic step to some, but it’s the kind of urgent action needed to tackle climate change, advises the North. London Waste Authority.

About 11.8 million kilograms of carbon dioxide are emitted annually from the manufacture of Christmas wrapping paper alone, according to carbon footprint experts Giki.

To remove this process would be the equivalent of taking 4,917 cars off the road.

Wrapping gifts in scarves, pillow cases, and old comics or magazines may soon become the norm as more and more people are already turning to alternatives to store-bought wrapping paper.

A Census Wide survey found that of 2,000 UK residents surveyed, 64% had tried an alternative packaging method last Christmas.

The survey suggests that Britons spent a total of 81 million hours wrapping gifts last Christmas.

Of those who used alternatives to wrapping paper, 36% reused gift bags, 9% used brown paper decorated with ink or paint, 8 used paper like newspapers or comics for wrapping gifts and 7% of the fabric used.

An awareness of the non-recyclable nature of shiny and glitter wrapping papers was also evident, with 41% saying they avoided this type of gift wrapping.

The Rethink Packaging campaign

The North London Waste Authority has partnered with Red Ted Art, Style and Sustain, Origami East and fashion designer Sophie Cochevelou to provide inspiration and video tutorials for more sustainable gift wrapping.

They suggest the following tips for wrapping gifts in a greener way this year:

  • Reuse gift bags to save time and money.
  • Use colorful fabrics you already have to wrap items in the style of Furoshiki (traditional Japanese wrapping).
  • If you’re feeling smart, turn comics, magazines, or newspapers into Christmas wrappers, including bows and snowflakes to decorate. These can be easily recycled later.
  • Tie twine around the plain brown paper for a rustic look, and use foliage and herbs like holly or rosemary for decoration.
  • At a minimum, avoid shiny or glittery wrapping papers.
  • If you are using store-bought paper, look for “recyclable” and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) mark.
  • Minimize the use of duct tape, as it cannot be recycled. Or, better yet, avoid it altogether by wrapping gifts in an origami style.

For more information and step-by-step tutorials on sustainable packaging methods, see the Rethinking the packaging website.

You’ve got everything about sustainable gift wrapping, now find something to put there with our 2021 Christmas gift guide.


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