Cut the wrap: save money and stop single use wrapping paper this Christmas
Zoe Morrison, a fellow UK money blogger, from Eco Thrifty Living has set up a great challenge called #cutthewrap to encourage us to stop being wasteful and stop using single-use wrapping paper.
Did you know most gift wrap is not recyclable?
Many wrapping papers are non-recyclable as they contain plastic coating. That’s what gives them their gloss. Some also contain plastic in the form of glitter decoration.
It was only a couple of years ago that I discovered many of these lovely glossy wrapping papers were not actually recyclable. I’d always been putting them in my recycling bin thinking I was doing the right thing.
Wrapping paper is fun, but at what cost?
Wrapping paper is obviously a lot of fun, especially for kids, but this fun comes at a cost - a cost to our environment and also a cost to our wallets.
Before hearing of Zoe’s campaign I had already decided not to use Christmas wrapping paper this year. I want to stop the unnecessary waste, trees being cut down for no good reason and I wanted to save money.
It's really easy to spend lots at Christmas, but with a little investment in reusable wrap, you can stop overspending at Christmas.
Save money with reusable gift wrap!
I’ve made an investment of around £28 on fabric gift bags and sacks in various sizes from eBay. I will be putting the Christmas gifts for my own children in these sacks and not using wrap. Instead they will have to open each fabric sack to get their gifts.
The gifts will still be concealed within the sacks, so they will still be surprised!
£28 may seem like a lot of money to wrap my two children’s gifts, especially as this is only four sacks per child, but it will be cost-effective in the long run.
Once Christmas present opening is over the sacks will be put in our attic until next Christmas and the next and so on. We will always use these sacks for our children’s Christmas presents as long as they last - hopefully forever!
Using fabric sacks will give us something that is long lasting and will not need to be thrown away. In fact, even if they fall apart or become damaged, we still don’t need to throw them away. Our local charity shops accept damaged fabric as they sell it to the rag trade so it can continue to be useful.
Eco-friendly wrapping paper alternatives
Fabric sacks are one great idea to wrap gifts for your nearest and dearest, but what other solutions are there?
- Pieces of reusable fabric and ribbon
- Recycled paper from magazines, leaflets, newspapers
- Gift boxes
- Reusable strong gift bags
- Hessian bags and pouches
- Brown kraft paper if you have to use wrap
The idea is to make use of paper that would otherwise be recycled and can still be recycled after being used as wrap, or to find something that can be used again and again.
Your recipients can reuse bags or boxes themselves when next giving presents, or if it’s in your own household you can keep them for future gift wrapping.
At its very least, the idea is to not buy wrapping paper that contains plastic as it cannot be recycled. If you love using wrap and can’t be without it then choose something that is definitely recyclable.
Sellotape also can’t be recycled, so in an ideal world you will seal any gifts with ribbon or string when possible. This will also reduce plastic and waste.
We won’t need to seal the sacks as they have drawstrings. We’ll write the kids names on the Christmas sacks or attach their name with a cardboard label and twine.
Not only will you be helping to prevent landfill waste and reducing the plastic problem, but you will also save money in the long run if you find reusable alternatives that will last you years or even a lifetime.
Sign up to the challenge and pledge to #cutthewrap here: Use wrapping paper alternatives and #CutTheWrap
Click here for more ways to save money on your household spending!