I had to wrap a present the other day. I was away from home and my huge stock of unbleached tissue paper. Cue flurry of worry. I assumed that all gift wrap came plastic wrapped these days. I was wrong! You can still buy gift wrap in single, unpackaged sheets from card and book shops. But it is either incredably expensive or very ugly. They got very ugly!

For a one off this might work but if you have a lot of presents to wrap, at Christmas for example, this is not an option. Unless you are filthy rich!

pfree celebrate

A cheaper, greener alternative much touted on the internet is to recycle newspaper as a wrap. The examples up on Pinterest look lovely and I have no problem with the idea. It’s the content that worries me. I cannot give a present wrapped in the turgid prose of the Stodgeville Gazette.

Which is why (in the days before the bulk tissue purchase), I used to use foreign news papers. Especially Chinese which I thought looked great. For sure they might be lamenting some dreadful triple murder and suicide but who’s to know! Unless you are Chinese obvs!

But how green is it to recycle a chinese newspaper that you cannot read? And I gave up the Stodgeville Gazette years ago.Which is why I ended up buying tissue paper in bulk.

Here are three alternative wrapping paper options:

Wrapping Tissue:  This rather grainy, super-cheap tissue paper is used for wrapping breakables.of the cheaper packaging papers on the bulk buy market. I bought it wholesale in a polythene bag and that one purchase seems to be lasting a life time.

Brown Paper:Then there is the kraft paper used for the old school brown paper parcels. You can get huge rolls of this paper which again last  forever. This option is very chic in the green, present-wrapping circles!

Newspaper Offcuts. This unmarked white paper is, as it sounds, a waste product of the newspaper industry.


You can usually find all the above in shops selling packaging. If you go to a real shop you may be able to get some plastic free. Buy on line and in bulk and it will almost certainly come pre plastic-packed. You have to content yourself with the plastic offset and the knowledge that this plastic is already in your waste stream however you buy.

Read about our thoughts on bulk-buy, plastic-wrapped wholesale here.

Sticky Tape

You will also need to get some biodegradable sticky tape like this to wrap your paper parcels.


But even though these papers are cheap and often recycled, this is still not a zero waste option. It still contributes to the wrapping paper trash mountain.  According to  ,  every Christmas we use enough wrapping paper on our presents to go around the equator 9 times!

Hmmm. Perhaps we need to be considering reusable wrapping.

Paper available on Amazon

White Tissue Paper - 450x700mm. Pack of 500 Sheets. Cheap Unbleached General Purpose Packing Tissue. Ideal Protective Wrapping for Clothes & Garment Packaging. Great for Retail & Moving House as Interleaving & Carton Void Fill or Gap Filler. Recyclable, Scrunchable Paper Filling. From Packaging2Buy PPD 500 Sheets Of White Packing Paper - Newspaper Offcuts 500mm x 10m Kraft Paper Roll 88gsm
White Tissue Paper – 450x700mm. Pack of 500…
PPD 500 Sheets Of White Packing Paper – New…
500mm x 10m Kraft Paper Roll 88gsm
750mm x 20M Heavy Duty Brown Kraft Wrapping Paper Roll 90gsm - 20 METRES
750mm x 20M Heavy Duty Brown Kraft Wrapping…
 Amazon Products

Being committed to local shopping, I prefer to buy that way whenever possible. I would encourage you to do the same. One of the joys of living plastic free is mooching round the local shops seeing what you can source. But sometimes you can’t buy local so I have put together an Amazon catalogue. of independent sellers operating through Amazon.

Amazon is a very dirty word at the moment and I thought long and hard before suggesting them.  Heres why I went ahead…..

Yes we do get an affiliation fee for this, and no we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.

7 thoughts on “Wrapping paper – cheap & green

  1. I buy dish towels and napkins (made of cotton) during the year. I wrap my gifts in these and people love that they can reuse the “wrapping-paper” or rather “wrapping towels”. You can buy them on sale quite often. Use brown string and add pretty dried flowers or greens. Makes people smile every time.

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