18+ Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Options You Can Feel Good About

Now that’s a wrap.

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eco-friendly-gift-wrapping: Kraft paper
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Between Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Chanukah's eight festive nights, there's a whole lot of gift wrapping—and wrapping paper—going on every year. And whether or not all that paper can be recycled depends on the type.

The truth? A whole lot of gift wrap doesn't get recycled. So if you're already trying to rethink how you use household items in order to maintain a less wasteful home, scaling back on traditional gift wrap may be one more way to contribute to the cause.

There are a ton of eco-friendly gift-wrapping options out there. You can go with recycled or recyclable paper, gorgeous fabric wrapping that will live on year after year, vintage finds, or even a gift wrap that's part of the gift itself. We're breaking down everything you need to know about recyclable gift wrapping, along with our favorite gift-wrapping options to make this holiday truly green.

Is Gift Wrap Recyclable?

Just because wrapping paper is a type of paper doesn't mean that you can toss it into your recycling bin. More often than not, typical gift wrapping paper has one life, as it's coated with polyethylene, polypropylene, and laminates to give it that sheen. "Much of the stuff is un-recyclable," says Sara Smith, founder of Wrappily. "That glossiness is actually what works against the paper fiber's ability to be pulped and used again."

Glitter and foils are recycling no-nos as well. Anything shiny and reflective could be made with Mylar (yes, of the helium balloon fame) and has to go into a landfill.

The easiest way to check if your wrapping paper can be recycled is to do a scrunch test—paper should easily smush in your hand without bouncing back. If you're not sure if gift wrap is recyclable, toss it in the trash. Wishcycling—the hope that putting something in the recycling bin will lead to it getting recycled—can actually hamper the recycling process, according the American Forest & Paper Association, because non-recyclables (plastic bows) and contaminants (glitter) can prevent otherwise recyclable paper items from resurrection.

Recylable vs. Recycled Gift Wrap

There is a difference between paper made from recycled material and paper that can be recycled. If your gift wrap is recyclable (usually made of kraft paper, newsprint, or other matte paper finishes), you can recycle it. If you buy recycled gift wrap, it's made of paper that was used already (like recycled newsprint or cardboard) and can be recycled yet again.

Either one would be a greener option than traditional gift wrap. And there are even recyclable options that are made of different materials—such as plant fibers or stone.

While you're at it, make the rest of your gift wrap more eco-friendly by opting for paper ribbons and paper tapes like washi that can be recycled or reused.

Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap Options

Here are several ways to make your presents look special while also doing your part to protect the environment. Who knows? You may even save a little money by going green.

Wrappily Pink Pinecone/Candy Cane Striped Wrap

Wrappily Pink Pinecone and Pink Striped Gift Wrap


Wrappily's charming recycled and recyclable gift wrap is printed on newsprint using soy-based inks and comes flat-packed, so there's no cardboard tube to trash. It comes in an array of different designs, and each sheet is double-sided, so you can mix and match for the perfect under-the-tree look.

Paper Source Holiday Cedar Branches Stone Wrapping Paper

Paper Source Holiday Cedar Branches Stone Wrapping Paper

You've probably heard of waxed paper or cellophane, but have you heard of stone paper? That's right, Paper Source created this festive cedar branch greenery gift wrapping paper without using a single tree. The recyclable and reusable paper is also water-resistant, so you can make like Grandma and save it for next year.

Re-Wrapped Christmas Folk Robins Gift Wrap

Rewrapped robin gift wrap

Re-Wrapped UK/Etsy

If you love that coordinated look for your gifts, this set of 10 sheets of 100% recycled gift wrap will do the trick.

Pine Trees Diamond Pattern Paper

Waterleaf Tree Wrapping Paper

Waterleaf Paper Company

Water Leaf paper is made of plant cells and fibers (cellulose), which can easily dissolve, biodegrade or compost. It comes in an array of pretty patterns for your gifts.

Candy Cane Medium Gift Bags

Candy Cane Medium Gift Bags

Paper Source

Gift bags may be an even better option, as they're easier to reuse year after year. This set of three wood-free paper bags could grace gifts for several years.

Butcher or Kraft Paper Gift Wrapping

Roll of Kraft Paper


Butcher and kraft paper rolls are ideal for eco-friendly DIY gift wrapping. "While butcher paper is not recyclable because it's waxed, it can be composted easily by tearing it up into small pieces," says sustainability expert Danny Seo of Naturally, Danny Seo.

"Kraft paper is recycled, recyclable, and quite durable." Invest in a large roll like this 150-foot recycled kraft paper roll. You can dress it up with stickers or washi tape, doodle with markers, or add sprigs of pine and twine.

MT Block Slash Washi Tape Japanese Colorful

MT Block Slash Washi Tape Japanese Colorful

No paper gift wrapping is possible without tape. Try using Cutetape washi tape made from paper. Not only do the charming designs add flair to your gift wrapping, unlike its pesky plastic cousin, washi tape comes off in a cinch.

Citrus Paper Ribbon

Citrus Paper Ribbon

America produces enough holiday ribbon refuse to wrap it around Earth. Eek! But that doesn't mean your presents have to go without it. The eco-friendly paper ribbon from Wrappily is recyclable, compostable, and uses water-soluble dye to add a vivid splash of color to any gift. You'll never go back to fabric trim again.

Wrappr Gifts of Joy Bundle

Wrappr Gifts of Joy Gift Wrap Bundle


These organic cotton furoshiki wraps by Wrappr come in bundles of several sizes to fit everything from the newest tech gadget to a cool toy. Choose from a dozen original designs of machine washable and reusable wrap.

Braided Fabric Wrap

Braided Fabric Gift Wrap


Check out these bright furoshiki wrap options by UNWRP that come in two sizes—plus plenty of other fun patterns.

Hallmark Fabric Gift Bags

Hallmark fabric gift bag in red, black and white with santa and striped motifs


Make your gift-giving super-easy—pop the gift in these festive (and totally reusable) fabric bags, then keep them for next holiday season.

Marimekko Tea Towel

Marimekko Tea Towel


A pretty tea towel is a great gift wrap—especially for a kitchen gadget or goodie—and will come in handy after the holiday is long over.

Winter Twilight Fabric Wrapping

Winter Twilight Fabric Wrapping

For a more traditional reusable fabric wrap, look no further than Evergreen Wrapping, like this Winter Twilight cotton wrap that comes with an attached ribbon for easy bows. It's machine washable and takes up a fraction of the space compared to typical bulk rolls of gift wrapping paper.

Urban Villa Striped Tea Towels

Urban Villa Tea Towels


Buy these cotton tea towels in bulk—they have a festive white-and-red stripe, plus they're an additional gift your recipient can enjoy.

Mini Mushroom Woven Basket

Mushroom Basket

Uncommon Goods

Add a festive woodland touch beneath your tree with these charming handmade mushroom baskets that will give you extra storage after the gifts have been unwrapped.

Decorative Coiled Rope Basket

Coiled Rope Basket


This generously sized basket is perfect for larger gifts—and can hold your cozy throws, your kids' toys, or even laundry afterward.

Baggu Set of Three Archive Forest Bags

Baggu Forest Bags


These fun and funky reusable grocery bags are made of recycled ripstop nylon and can hold the same amount of stuff as two to three plastic bags. (And they fold up to a tiny pouch if you're planning to reuse for next holiday season, rather than next grocery trip!)

Maeve Blue and Orange Recycled Fabric Basket

Blue and Orange Recycled Basket

World Market

Recycled plastic bottles are woven into this super-soft basket, with shades of orange and blue.

Other Gift Wrap Options

Think outside the box (and the paper wrap). You can choose found paper to use as gift wrap (think sheet music, maps, newspapers, or kids' artwork), or hit a vintage store for scarves, canvas paintings, or old totes you can use.

And don't forget the "reuse" part of the reduce, reuse, recycle motto—you can opt to keep old paper gift bags and use them yourself the following year. (Just store them so they don't get ripped or damaged.)

And storage bins, baskets, or bags can contain your gifts—and then make a great spot to store them or other treasures after the gift's been unwrapped.

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