1. Reuse gift bags or gift wrap in good condition.
This one drives my mother-in-law nuts when she catches us at it, but it only makes sense to me. Gift bags in particular tend to be highly reusable. They get torn less often and are of a heavier paper.
People can be pickier about gift wrapping paper, as the wrinkles often show, but if you look through it you can figure out which will still look good as you reuse it.
2. Children’s artwork.
Most children produce quite the quantity of artwork. You can encourage their creativity and make wrapping paper other people want to hold onto by making it a project for your kids. Many will do it happily, and you won’t have to decide what to do with those “masterpieces”.
3. Make it a part of the gift.
There are so many ways you can do this. Garden supplies in a bucket. Bath supplies wrapped in a towel. Kitchen tools or spices in a bowl. Toys wrapped in play silks.
It’s the same idea as a gift basket, but with the goal of having the item used as a basket be just as useful. After all, how many people need all those baskets?
4. Reusable bags.
It can be a cloth gift bag or a reusable shopping bag. It’s a fun way to encourage people who haven’t quite gone in for the reusable bag trend to give it a try.
If you sew, you can also make your own reusable bags for gift giving.
5. Reuse gift boxes.
Most boxes can be used over and over again. It can be a little challenging if someone tapes a paper box shut, as the tape can tear the design when you open it, but do your best.
6. Recycled paper gift wrap.
You can also find gift wrap made from recycled paper. It’s a nice step up from regular gift wrap when other suggestions just won’t work.
7. Shredded paper for packaging.
You don’t need packing peanuts or other things for anything you need to ship or otherwise protect. Just start shredding your junk mail and you’ll probably have plenty of protection for almost any gift.
8. Skip the gift wrap.
We don’t do this much at Christmas in my family, but for birthdays we’re notorious for “not having the time” to wrap a gift. If the people you know don’t mind, just skip it altogether. It’s the thought that counts, not the presentation. Just be sure the recipient is comfortable with the idea as some can be offended.
9. Don’t forget the green cards.
Grow-A-Note makes some nice cards that grows wildflowers when planted. You can also look for cards made on recycled paper.
It’s also a good idea to be aware of the rules for recycling gift wrap in your area. Some places make it easier than others to recycle gift wrap. You aren’t in control of what people wrap gifts to you in, after all, and if you can’t reuse it you can at least try to figure out if it can be recycled. Many areas can recycle wrapping paper that is not metallic or laminated. Remove the tape and many kinds of wrapping paper will qualify for recycling.
What ideas do you have for green gift wrap?