The best alternatives to wrapping paper for 2021

A lot of commercially-available Christmas wrapping paper contains plastic (in the form of embellishments or glitter) or foil. These look pretty, but sadly render the paper unrecyclable. We’re so lucky that in 2021, we have a huge range of recyclable, upcycled, DIY and reusable wrapping paper options available. We’ve listed some of our top alternatives to wrapping paper for 2021. Which is your favourite?

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Eco-friendly wrapping paper alternatives for 2021

Let’s get wrapping! Here are our top alternatives to wrapping paper for 2021.

The best wrapping paper alternative is what you already have

Yes, we have listed some alternatives to wrapping paper here that can be bought. However, it’s important to note that the most sustainable option (for most things, not just wrapping paper) is to use what you already have.

Here are a few things you might have around the house that can be used as wrapping paper for this year’s Christmas presents:

  1. Wrapping paper. Hang on, aren’t we trying to avoid using wrapping paper? Well, yes. But using standard wrapping paper that you already have in the house is still a more sustainable option than buying something. Just be mindful of how you dispose of it – even if you put embellished or decorated paper in your recycling bin, it will not be recycled.
  2. Pillowcases or sheets. Using bed sheets is a great way to wrap larger presents that would usually require huge amounts of wrapping paper. Pillowcases are excellent makeshift gift bags and are much quicker than wrapping too!
  3. Scarves. Lots of scarves come in a variety of patterns and colours so are perfect for using as wraps in place of wrapping paper.
  4. Delivery packaging. In this era of ordering everything online, most of us have some delivery boxes or packaging lying around, waiting to be recycled. Before you pop them in the recycling bin, why not give them one last special job and use them to package up your Christmas presents?
  5. Used gift bags. If you’ve saved any gift bags from last Christmas or from any birthdays over the course of the year, grab them! Not only is re-using old gift bags a great sustainable option, it’s also way less fiddly than using
  6. Muslin cloths & blankets. If you have a baby or young children, you might have some muslin cloths or blankets around the house that would be perfect for wrapping your Christmas gifts. 
  7. Newspaper or magazines. In our Christmas with Impact post last year, Ailuna team member Justina recycled her wedding magazines to wrap her Christmas presents. You can do this with any newspapers or magazines you have at home. Tied with string or recycled ribbon, newspaper-wrapped presents look lovely under the tree, too.

A gift wrapped in a page from a magazine - a great alternative to wrapping paper


Other alternatives to traditional wrapping paper

If you don’t have anything suitable already, here are a few alternatives to commercially-produced wrapping paper that we love for 2021.

PriPri – reusable Furoshiki wraps made from upcyled Indian saris

Pri Pri make a whole range of clothing, accessories and home decor from upcycled Indian saris.

These Furokishi gift wraps come in a range of beautiful colours that are sure to brighten up your gift pile on Christmas morning.

Gifts wrapped in Furoshiki gift wraps made from upcycled saris by Pri Pri 

Recycled wrapping paper & reusable wraps from Little Leaf Organic

Once their customers starting requesting gift-wrapped orders, Little Leaf Organic designed their own eco wrapping paper. They have 7 of their own designs, all 100% recycled paper, uncoated and printed with eco inks in the UK. 
They also use their organic cotton muslins to wrap gifts, in the Japanese Furoshiki style. Their Snowman and Christmas Trees ones are particularly popular during the festive season.

Wrag wraps

Wrag sells a huge range of beautiful fabric wraps made from recycled plastic. A lot of them are reversible, with different prints on each side, and they even do a rental service, if you’re not keen on buying.
A wrag wrap alternative to wrapping paper in peacock feather print

Sew your own fabric gift bags

If you’re the crafty type, why not make your own fabric gift bag. Bonus points for using scrap fabric, old sheets or pillowcases you no longer use.

Check out this video tutorial for a simple way to make drawstring fabric bags.



Seed paper

We love this idea. The Little Green Paper Shop sells plantable paper that has wildflower seeds embedded in it. Use their different coloured paper to wrap your gifts, then plant it to help rewild your garden and attract wildlife come spring.
Colourful seeded paper for use as an alternative to Christmas wrapping paper

Recycled paper rolls from Eco Craft

Wrapping presents in brown Kraft paper is one of the most popular eco-friendly options. These rolls of recycled paper from Eco Craft are affordable and great if you have a lot of wrapping to do.

Alternatives to tape and gift tags

To complete the eco-friendly wrapping, you might need some alternatives to traditional sticky tape, too. Here are some ideas:

  • Washi tape. This decorative paper masking tape is a lovely alternative to plastic sticky tape.
  • Ribbon. Recycle any ribbon you have around the house to secure your wrapping material of choice.
  • String. A classic! Plain or coloured string can be used to secure your gifts – but if you’re buying it, make sure you buy plastic-free.


Finally, here are a few ideas for gift tags:

  1. Cut out pictures from Christmas cards, punch a hole and use them as gift tags.
  2. Write directly on the paper! If there’s some blank space on your wrapping paper, just write directly onto it.
  3. We love these plantable gift tags from Ruby and Boo – perfect to go with your plantable wrapping paper!
  4. Colour code your gifts. Why not have a colour-coded system where each person has easily-recognisable gifts.


Which alternatives to wrapping paper will you be using?

We’d love to see your gifts all wrapped and under your tree. Tag us in your photos on Instagram (@ailunacommunity) or why not join the Ailuna Community Facebook group to share with other people looking to change their habits and make a positive impact on the planet.

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