10 Unique Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas

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You've picked the perfect present, now what? You could wrap it with paper and bows that most likely can't be recycled or you could think a little outside the box and get creative with these budget-friendly and unique Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas!

If you are looking for ways to wrap your eco friendly gifts, zero-waste gifts, gifts for minimalists, or gifts for kids, you've come to the right place. But these ideas can be used at any time of the year for any occasion like birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, showers, and more!

Coming up with ingenious ideas on your own isn't always easy so I've put together some of my favorites to help you skip the boring bag and dazzle everyone with these creations!

Eco Friendly and Sustainable Ways To Warp!

Education is so important to us here at The Eco Hub. With all of our articles, we want to make sure you get the "why" behind the "what". And to help with that, at the end of this post we are tackling some important questions.:

Why choose eco friendly ways to wrap gifts? Can't you recycle wrapping paper, etc? And where can you find Eco Friendly gift-wrapping materials? And make sure to watch the video too! 🥰

Step-by-step guides to Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas

1. Reusable Silicone Baggies

Leave out the wrapping altogether and use the actual present as the gift wrap. It's all about going naked here. Sometimes you just don't need to use anything other than the actual gift!

A Stacher bag filled with Swedish cloths and soap. Pin
Image: The Eco Hub

First, I love Stasher bags for so many reasons. What I did here was to create a DIY cleaning kit, this is the perfect present for someone who might be wanting to try a DIY, or makes their own cleaning products. Or you just want to give someone in your life something truly unique.

You will need:

Did you watch the video above? How easy was that? You can use any container you like as long as it's reusable. And you already know how much I love thrifting, or look on Facebook Market Place for cute and even free containers. Please let's normalize regifting!

2. Upcycled Glass Jars

If you are looking for a gift for the hostess with the mostess...or anyone really, teacher, colleague, etc. Look no further than this cute DIY mason jar gift idea. I made this for a friend who loves to bake. If you know me you know how much I love glass jars.

A minin Xmas tree with a mason jar next to it. Pin
Image: The Eco Hub

I bought a gorgeous vintage mason jar from an antique shop, a cute tea towel that gives back to the bees, a wooden spoon, and some twine. I simply rolled up the towel, slid it onto the jar then tied the wooden spoon to the jar with the twine. You can take this one step further by placing a cookie recipe in the jar. It's just so cute!

The cool thing about glass jars is you can use them for just about anything. The idea is to think a little outside of the traditional cardboard box! You know how much I love to shop in bulk, its saves time, money, and resources.

For this gift idea, I went to my local zero-waste grocery shop and filled a large mason jar with laundry soap. I also bought 4 wool drier balls, a small mesh bag, and some greenery and that's it! I added a small card with an explanation of how to use the natural laundry detergent.

A mason jar filled with laundry soap and dryer balls in a mesh bag. Pin
Image: The Eco Hub

As a journalist, I get a lot of stuff sent to me, and a lot of the time I have no idea what to do with it! A great way to make sure none of this stuff goes to waste is to gift it to people I know will love and appreciate it. For skincare, make sure it's unused and not opened. Now, you can do this with anything, not just skincare.

And you can use glass jars for so many gorgeous DIY gifts, here are over 100 ways to choose from.

3. Reusable Gift Boxes & Baskets

Here I bought this gorgeous reusable wooden box filled with sustainable skincare and makeup products, I included things like a zero-waste deodorant, reusable cotton rounds, a reusable razor, zero-waste lip balm, and a shampoo bar. You can put anything in the box and in place of a box you can use a basket as I have done in the next idea.

A woman holding a decorative box, filled with green beauty products.Pin
Image: The Eco Hub

I love giving gifts that are practical and help my loved ones reduce waste. No matter where someone is on thier eco journey this present always seems to be a BIG hit and it's SO simple to make. I picked up this cute basket at the One Of A Kind Show, it's handmade in Montreal and it was hard to buy just one! LOL!

I filled the basket with the following:

A basket filled with eco products. Pin
Image: The Eco Hub

The great things about all of the gifts above are they are practical, and thoughtful and offer a chance for all of us to reduce our waste and reuse items in a different way. You can also customize any of the ideas above. These are truly gifts that keep on giving.

4. Old cloths, produce bags, and other fabric

You've probably seen this eco friendly gift wrap all over the gram. It's a very traditional Japanese technique called Furoshiki and you can use just about any fabric to create it. If you have old clothes lying about, use those. You can also look for cute tea towels and scarves at your local secondhand shop. Any fabric will do!

For the top of the present, I usually opt for either greenery that I collect from my garden or I look for pretty thrifted brooches to add to the top, for a little bling.

You can also use small cloth bags, or even reusable produce bags, the ones you see in the photo below originally had candles in them. I kept the bags to use for wrapping presents. So cute!

If you can't find fabric, take a look at Wrappr, they have so many stunning collections to choose from. They work with local artists for all thier incredible patterns, each one tells a beautiful story. The Gifts of Joy for example is inspired by winter and in collaboration with artist IzySunday who wanted to design a collection that "sparks that same cozy, joyful feeling throughout the winter season."

3 present wrapped in cloth on a bench next to a xmas tree. Pin
Image: The Eco Hub

5. Beeswax Wraps

Oh, I love a good beeswax wrap. Not only do they help you reduce food waste, but they are also a pretty awesome gift to give. They come in a variety of sizes and can be molded (using your hands) to fit any size box. Add whatever you like to the top and you're done!

3 Presents wrapped with beeswax wraps. Pin
Image: The Eco Hub

6. Newspaper, brown paper, paper bags, magazines, old maps

The brown paper I have collected throughout the year is perfect! As mentioned, don't worry if it's wrinkled you can cover that up easily with homemade and natural adornments.

A quick search on Pinterest will give you so many ideas. For kids, I simply love giving them the opportunity to have a little fun with their present before they open it. All you need is brown paper and some crayons. Tape the crayons to the box and write "color me" in the corner.

Another idea is to draw Christmas ornaments onto the box. Just cut some circles out of an old magazine, glue them to the gift, then use a marker to draw on the string, and add some greenery to the top! I simply LOVE this idea.

Feel free to use paper bags, butcher paper, and parchment paper too!

Christmas gift boxes in craft paper — Photo. Pin
Image: The Eco Hub

For newspapers pick the section that will appeal to the person who is getting the gift. The fashion section, car section, and comic section are good places to start. If you have old maps lying around, they make for fabulous gift wrap too.

Instead of conventional tape use kraft tape. It's made from paper and a way better option! This fun and colorful Washi Tape from Earth Hero is also an option.

7. Cardboard Boxes

Handmade decor with cardboard box, Christmas concept — Photo.Pin

So I mentioned before that I get a lot of free stuff, this might sound great, but it's not. I am usually left with a lot of product and waste. Many times the box the item comes in can be reused even if it has a logo on it, you can cover that with a card or greenery. Those cardboard boxes can start to pile up pretty fast, so put some of them to good use. For the ones you don't use, make sure you recycle them properly.

8. Dried fruit, flowers, plants, and greenery

Handmade decor with cardboard box, Christmas concept — Photo..Pin

When I was making my DIY potpourri I kept a few slices of fruit to add to the top of the presents. You can also use herbs (fresh or dried), flowers (fresh or dried), leaves, pine cones, twigs, or really any greenery that you can find in your garden. It just adds such a personal unique touch that comes right from the earth!

Use organic hemp twine, organic linen twine, or organic cotton ribbon. You can even use wooden clothes pins to attach things to any ethical gift.

9. Handmade Bows

Handmade bow. Pin
Image: The Eco Hub

I had so much fun creating these? Did you watch the video above? Make sure you do! I've got the whole tutorial there for you. Typically bows and ribbons are made or coated in plastic, so I wanted to avoid these. In my quest to make my own bow, I found this amazing free pattern from Bren Did. I used leftover paper from last year. I was so surprised by how easy these were to make!

10. Handmade Gift Tags

Handmade gift tags. Pin
Image: The Eco Hub

Handmade tags are a must if you want to wrap your presents with less waste. They are so simple to make, you need scarp cardboard and a little imagination. Make sure you watch the video above, as it's got a full tutorial on how to make these.

The cool thing with handmade anything is they are unique to the giver and the receiver. And there are so many patterns you can choose from. I chose the gingerbread house cause it's just so darn cute and I am not the best artist and if I can do it, you can too!

Why choose eco friendly ways to wrap gifts?

Here's a "wrap sheet" of what's linked to the simple act of wrapping a gift!

  • Deforestation: The paper industry is notorious for deforestation. Old-growth forests are being cut down at alarming rates to keep up with the demand for paper.
  • Habitat Loss: Clear-cutting massive areas leaves many animals without thier habitat causing them significant distress. Many species, like the Orangutan, are on the brink of extinction and many are killed on purpose.
  • Exposure to chemicals: Toxic chemicals like chromium and lead are used as well as bleaching agents and hydroxides, all of them really bad for our health and the planet and, if you burn certain paper it can release toxic chemicals into the air.
  • Waste: The wrapping paper industry is valued at around 7 billion dollars in America. This is equivalent to approximately 5 million pounds of wrapping paper, with half of it ending up in landfills. Wrapping paper can be considered single-use, it's used once, then tossed in the garbage!  Most of it is not biodegradable either.
  • Microplastic: As the plastic bow or tag breakdowns down in a landfill, it creates microplastic, which has a detrimental effect on us and on delicate and at-risk marine life.

But can't you recycle wrapping paper, etc?

Like all things eco, it's never that simple! If it's brown paper yes it can be recycled or even composted. But as soon as you add plastic tape, bows, glitter, ribbons, shine, etc. you can't recycle it. And if you put brown paper that has plastic tape on it in the blue bin, it's going to roll right into the trash! Staff don't have time to do this, it has to happen on the consumer level.

The best-case scenario is we get people to cut off the parts that have the tape on them and recycle the rest, but that is not going to happen, people just won't do it! 😤

Where to find Eco Friendly gift-wrapping materials?

A bunch of used cardboard boxes, mason jars, tins and brown paper bags.Pin
Stuff I have either collected or grabbed at my local thrift shop (tins for cookies)
Image: The Eco Hub

First off, shop your home, and use what you have! If you are like me and you've kept all the boxes, brown paper, packing peanuts, tissue paper, bows, and ribbons, start to sort them.

Look for boxes that have little to no damage that can be reused, and flatten out all the paper, it's fine to use it even if it's wrinkled. You can cover the wrinkles with handmade and natural adornments. If you have boxes that are damaged, keep them, you can use them to make gift tags, which I will show you later.

In the video above, I am showing you how to use silicon baggies as the actual gift wrap, PLUS how to make bows and gift tags with scarps.

A final word on eco friendly ways to wrap gifts

Well, that's a wrap. I really hope you got some ideas from this article. It was fun to come up with ideas that are unique, thoughtful, handmade, budget-friendly, and easy to make. The idea is to think outside of the proverbial "box" if you get what I mean!


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