Plastic Free Wrapping Options

So, it is that time of year when we start to wrap up our presents. So here are some tips for those folks out there who are perhaps wanting to wrap their gifts plastic free. Many of us are unconsciously wrapping up presents with plastic – be that cellotape or wrapping paper that has a layer of plastic (it is the ones that don’t scrumple as a good general rule). It is an easy thing to miss as plastic. Indeed, it took me a while to think about the wrapping paper one but it is also, thankfully, an easy swap for most of us. 

So here are a few options.

1. Wrap it in some material – like a Scarf


Why is this good? Well it looks awesome, (who wouldn’t like this) and it is a second gift or it can be re-used by the person who receives it to give another plastic-free wrapped gift.

2. Newspaper/Brown Paper/ Paper

Alternatively, you could wrap it in brown paper or newspaper or design your own paper (e.g. A4 paper stuck together and drawn on ) you get even better creative points if you are re-using newspaper/paper of any sort.


This is a bit retro but I think can be quite a cool look – especially if done well. Unfortunately, my ones I sent in newspaper / brown paper I forgot to photograph!

If you are going for wrapping in paper or newspaper you will need some of these:


I actually can’t remember where I got these from but I bulk bought online (we know have 8 around the house). However these sites look like they sell pretty similar ones but I haven’t bought from these two, yet. Remember it is always worth asking for it to come in plastic free packaging.



Other wrapping alternatives

OR string (if you can find it not in plastic) OR home-made glue (flour and water) – but this may be stickier. 

3. Drawstring bags

image2 (15).JPG

Another option might be to make your own or buy off a market some drawstring bags. A bit like giving gifts in a stockings (another great option which you could fill with plastic free goodies) these can be re-used easily and will last.

4. Give it in glass


So our example here is alcoholic but it doesn’t need to be. We have all seen the pictures on the internet of ready to make goodies (usually things like all the dry ingredients for chocolate brownies or cookies). Giving gifts in glass is great – again you can either ask for them back (so that you can re-fill them – we do this and tend to get around 1/3-1/2 of them back) or just give them away as a very nice bonus extra. We buy our glass from Wilkinson’s who wrap them in paper which hey presto then get used as wrapping paper. Although they do have the smallest button of plastic on the top (we figured overall it is better as it is not being thrown away unlike your usual wrapping paper with sellotape on)

5. Buy an experience

Your other real option is if you want to give a gift is to try and give an alternative gift – e.g. the gift of time with a written promise to do something together or a paper voucher for an experience that you can buy more and more readily online or some places like the theatre (all national theatre tokens are still paper last time I checked).

Do use up your leftover sellotape and wrapping paper though…

All in all there are plenty of options out there! However, it is worth though using up any left-over wrapping paper and sellotape, and bags for that matter (we still have a number) because otherwise they will then just end up in landfill, as a friendly rightly reminded me. This year some of our presents are wrapped with our last bits of sellotape and wrapping paper next year we hope to be completely free of the stuff.

Hope this is helpful for those who are beginning wrapping in this season of Advent. Let me know if you have any other good ideas – the more alternatives that are thought of the better 🙂



  1. Great ideas Claire. Gift bags can be reused multiple times, I never buy new ones but recycle – I think my siblings and I use the same ones every year and just put a new tag on them. Out local vicar belongs to a group of friends who have bags they’ve been reusing for up to 10 years!


  2. My mother saves all the recycling paper. This means presents at my parents’ are unwrapped with eccentric care to avoid ripping paper, and larger presents are wrapped in a patchwork of paper going back over 20 years. I think my dad feels the pressure when he’s unwrapping presents because he doesn’t have the patience and painstakingness not to rip it! Also therefore you’ll usually get a birthday present wrapped in something very Christmas-y and vice versa (there’s definitely more Christmas paper than not). I think she does it now partly out of a family joke as much as anything!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s