Like many this year, I am celebrating my birthday within the lock-down restrictions of the Coronavirus. Rather than being doom and gloom about not being able to celebrate with my wider family and friends, I thought I’d share a few thought on wrapping paper for all the lovely eco gifts.
When people think of the word ‘eco’ they often think of brown paper, Kraft labels in parcels that are tied together not very securely with a sparse amount of string. It is quite basic and primitive, does the job but in my opinion doesn’t look very pretty. I’m trying to find ways to make wrapping paper more exciting and I’m only at the start of the journey!
Most wrapping papers from mainstream shops are made from laminated sheets. This includes both paper and plastic polymer or laminated with foil. Once materials are fused together they cannot be separated into their component parts. The best way to find out if wrapping paper contains plastic or foil is to do the scrunch test. If the wrapping paper bounces back it is non-recyclable but if it stays in a ball then it can be put in recycling bin with papers.
I’ve been finding it really difficult to buy simple paper suitable for wrapping presents. It is either grossly expensive, printed with holly berries for Christmas or advertised as ‘eco’ then comes wrapped in a non-recyclable plastic cellophane wrapper! It is all very frustrating and a bit of a bug bear with my sustainable living quest.
My mum always carefully peels the tape off presents and keeps the good quality paper for another use. This is great idea to reuse something again for its intended purpose and can see great merit in doing this. My problem is that I am too impatient to get into the gift that I end up making a rip and I’ve not mastered the careful art of saving the paper as yet. There is a joy in the the excited child (however old they might be) diving into a gift and making a mess with paper is all part of the fun. I have previously looked at other ways of wrapping gifts using newspaper but that just got all inky and messy or reusable fabric wraps with ribbon or gift bags with tissue. I’ve even heard of people before using the printed paper off loo roll from Who Gives a Crap to wrap gifts!
If only I could buy this on a big roll so I could use the lovely prints for the school gifts. For me the rustling noise of paper is part of the gift experience and this can be still with paper wrapping as long as it is recyclable after use.
One idea that I had for the next school gift stall is to use some rolls of brown paper and get the children to stamp it themselves with some potato print inks to make it more interesting and give it a personal touch. They can be their own eco designers. Maybe there is an idea to sell that as a market gap that could raise money for a school that way? Seems no-one else is doing it.
There are also so many creative way of wrapping without using tape or using alternative paper and eco tapes, using natural materials for gift tags and toppers which I will save for another post! These ideas lend themselves well to the end of the year Christmas preparation.
For now, I will make a start with wrapping gifts in pretty and pink thanks to Hobbycraft for the paper and the paper raffia ribbon and pink labels that can all be recycled.