Save money with six ‘cute’ alternatives to Christmas wrapping paper

TikTok user shares gift wrapping hack with Primark bag

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“227,000 miles of wrapping paper is used at Christmas in the UK. alone,” explained Kate from My Plastic Free Home on Instagram and TikTok (@my_plastic_free_home). Kate is on a mission to help Britons move towards a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, as well as running The Natural Living Shop, which sells an array of all-natural products.

As Christmas draws ever closer, she is sharing ways people can reuse and recycle goods around their homes instead of buying new or creating unnecessary waste. “This is your cue to start thinking about what you could reuse this Christmas,” Kate said on her Instagram.

Instead of going out and buying wrapping paper for your presents, Kate recommends recycling paper items you might already have at home and adding a festive twist.

“I love using print to wrap presents, and it could be as simple as picking a page that has an image you like,” she said. Kate showed how she wrapped a gift in a piece of newspaper adorned with an image of a nutcracker.

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A post shared by Kate (@my_plastic_free_home)

She continued: “I added one of my DIY clay decorations as a tag and a slice of dried orange and I think it looks amazing.”

If you don’t happen to have an old newspaper at home, Kate suggested five additional leftover items which can double up as gift wrap. She said: “Other amazing ideas I’ve seen in the past are journal articles, sheet music, old books, old brown paper bags and even your favourite magazines.”

Her Instagram video has amassed 4,079 “likes” at the time of writing, with commenters sharing their own eco-friendly gift-wrapping hacks.

A user posting under the handle Woozle100 said: “Saw a great idea of wrapping a cookbook gift in a tea towel- two gifts in one and no paper to recycle.” [SIC]

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Penny Macleod added that she had been reusing old paper from around her house for four decades. She explained: “Been doing this for 40 years. I used to wrap in comics when they were a part of the Saturday newspaper.

“I am a knitter so of course, yarn for ribbon! Paper bags work well too. Punch holes in the top and thread yarn through. The bags can be reused over and over again.”

Louise Wooton said: “I use fabric, then fold it up and put it away ready for the next year. Done this for about four years now. Also reuse any bags we’ve been given and wrapping paper if I can save it.” [SIC]

While you can purchase environmentally friendly wrapping paper, it’s important to remember that many types of store-bought gift wraps can not be recycled.  Some wrapping paper is contaminated with glitter and foil, which can not be recycled or given to paper mills. Poor quality wrapping paper also can not be recycled as its fibres are too short to make the pulp needed to be transitioned into new paper.

If you are concerned about the newspaper looking boring, Kate recommends using dried fruit, foliage from the garden and parcel string to add some fun to the parcels. She also creates clay gift tags made from just bicarbonate of soda and cornflour.

How to make Kate’s decorative clay gift charms

The clay charms can be made using two simple household ingredients – cornflour and bicarbonate of soda. To make the charms, preheat the oven to 140C and then mix a half cup of cornflour with one cup of bicarbonate of soda and three-quarters of a cup of water.

Heat the mixture until the consistency of mashed potatoes and leave to cool. Dust your surface with cornflour, roll out until the thickness of five millimetres and cut your shapes. At this point, you can also create a small hole to place the string through using a skewer. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, turning halfway.

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