Many times within a year, we’re gonna face giftwrapping. As exciting as it is (giving and being gifted—sometimes wrapping is fun too), there are lots of waste from this particular activity and event.
One of the things we can do to reduce that is choosing better alternatives. Like a dissolvable gift wrap, for example.
Dissolvable gift wrap from Plus
Plus is a brand that has a 100% dissolvable paper packaging, and so last Christmas, they launched a limited-edition dissolvable gift wrap with festive design that’ll make gift-giving not just more eco-friendly, but also still merry and jovial.
Is it truly dissolvable, you ask? Well, according to the brand, yeah. The sheet will dissolve the moment you add a little bit of water. And since they’ve used this type of packaging for their brand all the time, it’s actually nice that they made a wrapping paper out of it.
You don’t have to worry about the ink. Since inks are one of the many things that make not all paper qualified for recycling, Plus makes sure that the inks it uses are biorenewable and reversible.
Each roll of the wrapping paper was about 1.2 feet (14.6 inches) wide & 11 feet (132 inches) long. When the gift opening session was done, one could just toss the paper in the shower or sink and let it dissolve quickly.
While this paper really looks promising, unfortunately it was only available for Christmas, and Plus hasn’t made a new, general wrapping paper. A bummer? Sort of.
Other brands that are just as eco-friendly (though not dissolvable)
Thankfully, there are many brands that offer you environmentally friendly wrapping paper or boxes. They’re not dissolvable, but at least they can provide you slightly better alternatives.
In order to help you have less waste when it comes to gift-wrapping, Wrappily offers wrapping paper from recycled newspaper. Therefore, you can recycle, reuse, or compost it once it’s served its purpose.
Moreover, you can find eco-friendly shreds and ribbons here. You needn’t worry about the paper and decorations being bland, because the double-sided paper and the embellishments all have bright and jolly designs.
A set of wrapping paper (about three of 21.5” x 34” sheets) could cover six gifts, and the team provides demos on how to use them well.
Wrappily ships worldwide, with a price range of $10–$15 for the paper.
The Doodle Factory
If you live in the UK (and don’t know about this brand), I really recommend it. This company don’t only support the environment, but also local businesses and artists—they take in their doodles and have the small businesses print them on recycled wrapping paper.
Since the doodles and designs were made by local artists, you’ll know that the paper’s gonna look pretty. Once it’s been opened, one can fully recycle or reuse it again.
The price range of the paper from The Doodle Factory is £11.99–£12.99. Even though the brand ships worldwide, I think it’s better for those living in the UK.
The Little Market
Not exactly a fan of paper? Then you might like this brand, because it sells gift boxes and reusable totes. What’s cool about this company is that it employs marginalized communities all around the globe, and the supplies are made by women in India and Bangladesh.
Interestingly, the boxes are made from upcycled cotton that, without intervention, would end up in landfills. The totes, meanwhile, are made from jute—I personally think they’re really pretty that they’re totally reusable in many ways.
Shipping worldwide, boxes from The Little Market starts from $4–$18.
Making your own eco-friendly wrapping paper
Now, if it’s not easy for you to find environment-friendly wrapping paper, or the brands above are a tad too expensive, then you can always make your own. No, I’m not talking about recycling paper your own (although you’re always welcome to do that), but one thing we can always do: reuse.
According to a recycling company called The First Mile (it takes hard-to-recycle waste from you), the top list of people’s Christmas pet peeve is too much packaging. Therefore, reusing can prove to be a good solution.
When you can reuse the wrapping paper, do it (keep in mind to carefully open the presents next time). However, you can also use other types of paper like newspaper and magazines to make your presents look more vintage and also unique.
Let’s also not forget the good old brown parcel paper. They’re recyclable, cheap, and easy to find.
Decorating the plain paper
Even though some paper like the brown parcel bag is plain, it could give a bit of hygge to your gifts, not to mention the rustic, raw feeling to it. But if you want it to look more crowded, you can always find something like hemp ribbon, and give a bit of a bow.
Should you think bows are boring, well, there are many ways to decorate your gifts. For example, you can give them a bit of printing with some stamps.
Although, we know that not all paints are made to be environmentally friendly. So, you can use water-based paints that won’t release toxins, or you can also use food coloring or vegetable dye.
If you want to add a personal touch, you can always ditch the stamps and doodle the paper. Think of it as another way to channel your creativity.
You can also make your gifts look a tad more ‘organic’ by adding fresh embellishments like leaves, flowers, or twigs. They’re gonna look lovely, rustic, homemade. What’s more, those are 100% biodegradable.
Now, don’t undo all that effort by adding conventional tapes. Instead, find plastic-free biodegradable tapes or glues. If you want to be a lot more creative (and challenging), don’t use adhesives at all like some intermediate/advanced Japanese gift-wrapping techniques.
Gifting something fragile? Reuse shreds or use this popcorn-derived foam
Sometimes, we just want to give someone gifts that are fragile in nature, like ceramics, a bottle of liquor, and the likes. Of course, presents like that need extra protection.
Again, reuse can be your go to solution for these. So, whenever you’ve got shreds, tissue paper, and padding that you can salvage and reuse, keep ‘em until needed.
Otherwise, you can also use this new type of packing foam made from popcorn.
As we all know, expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam is not an eco-friendly material because it’s difficult to recycle and they’re not biodegradable. We should thank German scientists for developing the popcorn-based one.
Since having the idea over 10 years ago, Prof. Alireza Kharazipour at Georg August University and his team have made EPS-alternative foam that’s inexpensive, biodegradable, and renewable.
According to the university, the foam absorbs heat better than EPS. It’s also much less flammable, compostable, able to be shredded for reuse, used to produce biogas, and made to be animal feed when discarded.
Moreover, this foam doesn’t only need the kernels only. Corn industry waste like broken cobs can be utilized in its production.
So far, this popcorn-based foam has been used for wine bottle packaging. However, it can also be used for building or packaging insulation.
Prof. Kharazipour said, “I think this is my contribution as a scientist for a clean environment, free of plastic-based products.”