It’s almost time for the holidays, and millions of Canadians will soon be heading out to find special gifts for their loved ones. While wrapping a present in some pretty paper certainly makes a gift look lovely, the environmental impact is shocking. In fact, if more Canadians considered alternative gift wrap ideas, we could save more than 540K tonnes of paper from going into landfill. 

Back in 2017, environmental group Zero Waste Canada conducted a study into the waste that Canadians create over the Christmas season.

They discovered that more than 540,000 tonnes of wrapping paper actually end up in landfills after the holidays, which is the equivalent weight of around 100,000 elephants.

The worst part, according to advocacy organization Random Acts of Green, is that this waste doesn’t actually need to end up in landfills at all.

“Think about all the houses that are opening gifts on Christmas morning, all of the people giving gifts, and think about all that waste,” founder Jessica Correa explained.

“The things that are recyclable are often packed up with the garbage.”

Last year, the City of Toronto also said that avoiding single-use wrapping paper is the key to becoming waste-conscious during the holiday season.

That said, it's nice to give pretty wrapped-up presents, and it's equally fun to open those that have been carefully wrapped.

So, if you're looking for more eco-friendly ways to enjoy the holiday season, here are some alternatives for your presents this year. 


Not only does it look pretty, it's totally recyclable. Magazine pages, newspapers, an old crossword puzzle — they could all become ideal wrapping material for a package with personality.

Just don't forget to recycle it correctly after!

Fabric Gift Bags

A nice alternative to a standard gift bag. It's easily reusable and can be re-gifted or kept to use as a sweet storage bag. 

Baskets & Boxes

Who needs gift wrap when you can give a present like this?! Forget wrapping things, just present it in a basket or box from a thrift store, and it can be used again and again and again and again.


You know those leftover wallpaper scraps you have out in your garage? Put them to good use! You can make an awesome-looking gift wrap from wallpaper, and it's so thick that it's probably reusable!

Reusable Shopping Bags

You can buy these almost everywhere in 2019, and they're getting cuter than ever! Scrap the gift wrap and try a re-usable bag. It's like a little extra gift and it will definitely be used more than once.

If you really love gift wrap, and can't bear to be without it this year, perhaps consider a recyclable wrap that has no glitter or shine to it.

For more tips on how to have a super-sustainable Christmas, you can click here.

There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.

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