Giving Without Wasting: Statistics on Wrapping Paper and Ideas for Alternatives


  • Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, waste in American households increases by 25%.
  • Americans use 40 million tons of paper products each year to wrap gifts.
  • Every year, 38,000 miles of ribbon is thrown away.
  • The lamination and dyes in wrapping paper, while making the wrapping pretty, make it very difficult to recycle.

Wrapping Sustainably:

  • Use reusable fabric bags. My mother made over fifty pillow-case shaped bags in different sizes with Christmas-decorated cloth. All we have to do to wrap a present is tie a ribbon around the bag, which makes wrapping quick and easy. Using reusable bags will reduce your trash and will save you money in the long run.
  • Save newspaper and magazine pages. Small gifts can be wrapped in the pages of magazines, and the rest can be wrapped in newspaper.
  • Buy recycled wrapping paper.
  • Upcycle containers to make gift boxes. Use cereal boxes, oatmeal canisters, aluminum cans, and whatever else you were planning on throwing out. Reusing is always better than recycling.


Reducing waste does not have to ruin your Christmas. There are lots of alternatives that can be just as fun and just as beautiful.


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