Eco Friendly Alternatives to Wrapping Paper

Love giving presents to loved ones, but hate the amount of waste generated from gift wrapping? You're not alone! This handy guide is perfect for those searching for sustainable wrapping paper alternatives. Below we highlight five of our favourite sustainable alternatives to traditional wrapping paper.  


Reusable fabric gift bags solve two problems - (1) they can be used again and again, reducing the waste generated from disposable wrapping paper; and (2) they are perfect for wrapping oddly shaped gifts (and for those amongst us with lacklustre wrapping skills!).

These days there are so many fabric gift bags around in a range of sizes and styles to suit all tastes. 

Wondering how they work? It's simple - rather than wrapping a gift in paper and tape, you can just drop the gift in the bag, pull the drawstring, attach a gift tag or sticker and give to your recipient. The recipient 'unwraps' the present by pulling it out of the bag (much like they would with paper gift bags). They can then give the bag back to you to use for their gift next year (or you can tell them that the bag is theirs for them to pass on to another person in the future).

Reusable Fabric Gift Bag Birthday Present

Reusable Fabric Gift Bag (Birthday Balloon) - $10.00

Zero waste, zero worries with these sustainable gift bags!


It's easy to forget that there can by a myriad of uses for a newspaper after you've finished reading it! Reusing an old newspaper to wrap gifts is a simple, stylish and sustainable alternative to using wrapping paper. Use an old piece of twine or some coloured ribbon and a recycled gift tag to dress up your gift once wrapped. 

Reusing newspaper as sustainable gift wrapping solution

Image Source: Collombatti Naturals


Furoshiki (also known as reusable fabric gift wraps) have a cool name and a cool function. Furoshiki are traditional Japanese silk or cotton cloths, used to wrap and deliver goods and gifts. They are generally made in a square shape and can be wrapped in so many different ways around a gift. 

Furoshiki Sustainable Gift Wraps

Set of three reusable fabric gift wraps, $20 - The Simple Sustainable Store


How to wrap a gift using furoshiki:

There are a number of different methods out there, but one of the most basic is the Corner to Corner Method, as set out below:

Step 1: Lay your  furoshiki/fabric gift wrap print-side down on a flat surface so that the corners are pointing towards north, south, east and west. Place your gift in the middle. 

Step 2: Take the left and right corners of the furoshiki, and bring them together so they meet over the present. Tie in a double knot. Repeat for the other two corners (and double knot them over the previous knot).

Step 3: Tidy up the edges, and you're done! Sit back and admire your sustainably gift-wrapped present. 

Reusable Fabric Gift Wrap


Recyclable brown kraft paper is simple but can be so effective when gift wrapping. The key with using this paper is to decorate using stamps, an interesting ribbon or gift tag, or other adornments. To keep your wrapping totally sustainable, try upcycling ribbon or twine that you've saved from present's you've received, and use natural materials such as eucalyptus sprigs and gum leaves as adornments for your gifts. 

To secure your wrapping, skip out on the plastic tape and instead try some kraft paper tape (which is recyclable) or plain washi tape. 

Using Recycled Kraft Paper as gift wrap

Image Source: Ideal Home


Old pillowcases can be one of those items that are hard to dispose of sustainably, as many charities don't take used bedlinen. Why not repurpose your old pillowcases as an alternative and sustainable gift wrapping idea?

There are two options:

  • turn the pillowcase on its side, drop the present inside and tie up the opening with a ribbon, similar to how you might use a fabric gift bag.
  • wrap the pillowcase around the gift (like you would with paper) and secure the loose ends to the sides with a wide ribbon.

 Happy Sustainable Gifting!

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