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Eco-friendly wrapping paper: How to make your own this Christmas

Eco-friendly Christmas wrapping paper - get creative this year and make your own.
Eco-friendly Christmas wrapping paper - get creative this year and make your own. Copyright Getty
Copyright Getty
By Maeve Campbell
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Did you know? We throw away enough wrapping paper each year to circle round the equator nine times.


More than 100 million bags of rubbish are sent to landfill each Christmas in the UK, according to waste management company Biffa.

Of this, three and a half black bags full of festive packaging are thrown out per household - and that means wrapping paper.

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.

One easy way to reduce the amount you throw out, while also getting creative, is by making your own eco-friendly gift wrap.

Here’s our how-to guide on how to wrap presents without polluting the environment:

Find alternatives to wrapping paper

Brown parcel paper is the safest, recyclable wrapping out there - and it's cheap and easy to find.

It also gives that lovely nostalgic feel to your presents. But if you feel like they look a bit plain, you can add some acetate ribbon in different colours wrapped around the gift and tied in a bow on top.

Using magazines and newspaper are also great wrapping alternatives and give your presents a colourful, vintage look.

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.

So another solution is simply to re-use the packaging your orders arrive in. 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 too, so think again before tossing it to one side.

Alternatively - keep the wrapping from the presents you received last Christmas in a drawer and dig it out to reuse this year.

Wrap your Christmas presents in brown paper with a nice ribbon on top.Getty

Some decorative touches

As well as ribbons, you can jazz your presents up a bit by printing on them 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.

Recyclable twine or paper ribbon are also great for decorating and you can even draw pictures yourself - time to get out those old felt tips.

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

Opt for paper tags

Paper tags are cheap and widely available so they're better than plastic options - 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 (€2.40) 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 @euronewsgreen.

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