Waste – free presents this Christmas

Any gift-giver knows that presentation is almost as important as what’s wrapped up inside, am I right? Gift giving is an art in itself, and when you spend so much time thinking about and choosing the perfect presents for your loved ones, you want it all to be packaged nicely to give them a pleasant overall experience.

Unfortunately, after the unwrapping frenzy, which we all love of course as opening up presents is one of my favourite childhood memories – we end up with piles of paper, tape, and bows that don’t only result in an annoying mess to clean up (OMG there’s glitter everywhere). They also add up to a whole lot of waste—much of it non-recyclable unfortunately.

Fear not! (Didn’t you hear? ‘Tis the season to be jolly.) To lighten your environmental footprint, you don’t have to sacrifice the bells and whistles (or, bows and ribbons hehe). Why not make your gifts this year eco-friendly for 2019.

Though the name – wrapping paper – might suggest its recyclable, many kinds of wrapping paper contain other materials, like glitter and foil that cannot be recycled. A good rule is to keep it as simple as possible; nothing metallic, glittery, with loads of colours or too shiny. (The prettiest, classiest wrapping papers are the simple ones, anyway, right?)

Most ribbons and bows also are also not recyclable, so I would just avoid them altogether––though if you can’t resist tying that signature red ribbon on top of your gifts, and I do get it as I love to have pretty packages under the tree. Just purchase some sturdy, fabric bows and ribbons that the person receiving the gift can save and by using these you can also reduce the amount of tape you use. The majority of ribbons and bows hold up fine from one year to the next anyway. I remember my mum always saving these little things in a drawer in her crafts room and seems like 20 years down the line she knew best – like always.

Using recyclable material that you already have lying around the house, like brown paper bags, newspapers, old magazines or even old maps (I found an old Map of Malta from when we used to go on school outings will definitely be using it this year) to create DIY wrapping paper eliminates creating new waste. Plus, those paper packages will have that Insta-ready rustic look especially if you get some fresh herbs from your garden and add it to them.

For going completely waste-free, try furoshiki, a traditional Japanese method of wrapping a present in cloth (here’s an easy how-to tutorial from Elle Decor). Any type of fabric will work, whether it’s a bandana, a scarf or dish towel…you can even make the wrapping a part of the present.

So who is with me? let’s go waste free this Christmas!