5 zero-waste alternatives to wrapping paper

During the festive season, the UK discards the equivalent of 108 million rolls of wrapping paper. But the positive news is there are plenty of ways you can avoid this in your household to enjoy beautifully wrapped presents without harming the planet.

From upcycled fabrics to plantable paper with seeds in, the alternatives available are often even more charming than standard wrapping paper anyway. To get you inspired to have a zero-waste Christmas, here are some of our favourite sustainable gift wrapping ideas.

Climate-friendly fabric

Decorated with gold threads and embellishments, sari fabric is a gorgeous way to wrap your presents without contributing to Christmas waste. You can either purchase cheap offcuts from fabric stores or pre-cut and neatly hemmed fabric in eco-friendly stores such as Peace With the Wild. After unwrapping your gifts, save the fabric for next year and avoid having to purchase wrapping paper ever again.

Organic cotton wraps

If you’re looking for something more similar to traditional wrapping paper, organic cotton Christmas wraps printed with festive patterns might work better for you. Fabric does not fold in the same way as paper, so each wrap comes with a guide for how to neatly cover your gifts. Again, this zero-waste alternative can be reused each year to help tackle excessive Christmas consumption.

Flower seed paper

Strewn with wildflower seeds to plant in spring, plantable paper is a regenerative means of wrapping gifts, that helps nature thrive. By planting seeds you encourage biodiversity, support pollinators and help beat waste.

Upcycled waste paper

If you’ve got an old magazine or newspaper you’re not going to read again, its pages can offer a fun and quirky way to wrap gifts. Enjoy picking images and text that will personalise and add humour to your gift.

Duo-purpose wraps

You can even find something to wrap presents that will get used all year round. For example, incorporate an item of clothing into the gift you’re giving and use this to wrap with. You might also find an interesting tote bag, poster or map that will also do the job.