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A quick and easy guide to eco-friendly gift wrapping this Christmas

Eco-friendly Christmas wrapping paper.
Eco-friendly Christmas wrapping paper.   -   Copyright  Fab Scrap / First Mile
By Laura Sanders

227,000 miles of wrapping paper is thrown away every Christmas.

What’s worse is that most of it can’t be recycled so it goes straight to landfill. Add to that plastic sellotape, glittery embellishments and plastic ribbon, and the way we wrap presents spells a disaster for the environment.

A recent survey found that over half of the nation wants a greener Christmas this year as concern rises over the amount of waste being produced. An easy way to reduce your waste, while also getting creative, is by making your own eco-friendly gift wrap.

You could even make it a fun activity to do with children by investing in some stamps to decorate the paper with. Not only does this help the environment, but it adds a more personal touch to your gifts.

Here’s our how-to guide on eco-friendly wrapping.

Alternatives to wrapping paper

Brown parcel paper is cheap and easy to find. It also gives that lovely nostalgic feel to your presents. Using magazines and newspaper as wrapping is great too.

Research by recycling company The First Mile, which takes hard-to-recycle waste off your hands, found that too much packaging came top of the list of people’s Christmas bugbears.

An easy solution to this - along with doing less online shopping - is to re-use the packaging your orders arrive in. Simply wrap the box in brown paper if it’s covered with logos or address labels. Tissue paper, shredding and padding can all be salvaged from your online orders, so think again before tossing it to one side.

Decorative touches

You can leave reused paper plain or jazz it up a bit by printing on it with some stamps. But bear in mind that not all paints are eco-friendly. Water-based paints won’t release toxins so they're the best option, or you can experiment with food colouring/vegetable dye.

Go for some recyclable twine or paper ribbon to decorate. You could also re-use string or ribbon from gifts you receive

Rachel Sanders
Brown parcel paper hand-printed with reindeers.Rachel Sanders

Opt for paper tags

Paper tags are cheap and widely available, but they are a single-use item. Instead, remember to keep Christmas cards you receive this year and upcycle them next year by cutting them up into gift tags.

Ditch the sellotape

Make it a completely guilt-free gift wrap with some plastic-free biodegradable tape. This is relatively easy to get your hands on and can even be bought in some supermarkets for around £2 a roll. Or if you feel like a challenge, take a look at some of the clever ways you can wrap presents without any adhesives at all. It’s all in the folding with this Japanese origami technique.

Embellish your presents with real holly or Christmas tree cuttings

Leave the embellishments until last minute and go on a festive walk this Christmas Eve to forage for some fresh organic embellishments. Holly or Christmas tree cuttings make for beautiful, rustic decorations and are of course 100 per cent biodegradable. Just watch you don’t prick yourself on that holly!

Holly makes for a pretty and eco-friendly embellishment for Christmas presents.Getty

Fabrics work too

Make your gift doubly useful by wrapping it in something the recipient can use again, such as a pretty scarf, a table cloth or a tote bag.

You could also repurpose some scrap material to wrap presents in, or sew into a gift bag.

Show us your eco-friendly gift wrapping and tag us on social media at @euronewsliving.