Did you know the US alone sends 4 million tonnes of gift wrap to landfill every year!?

I wasn’t able to find the stats for Australia, so you can assume they’re not good.

Wrapping paper is generally a short-lived, single use product, and although often made from paper and technically recyclable, mostly ends up in landfill along with plastic decorations and ribbons.  Obviously the element of surprise is a special part of receiving gifts, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of our environment!

For my Dad’s birthday this week, I found the perfect alternative to traditional wrapping paper – Furoshiki.

What are Furoshiki?

Furoshiki are traditional Japanese wrapping cloths, dating back 1,200 years. They were initially used by merchants to transport and protect their wares, and later for storing people’s clothes while they used public baths.

Now, they are mostly used as shopping bags and gift wrap, although there are hundreds of uses with a bit of creativity.

Although Furoshiki are usually a simple fabric square, they can be made in different sizes and wrapped in lots of different ways to accommodate different objects and give different looks.

Include one of these printable instruction sheets with your gifts

Although Furoshiki became less popular with the advent of plastic alternatives, their use is on the rise due to an increased awareness of the environmental problems associated with plastic waste.

How can I start?

Using Furoshiki couldn’t be simpler.

Step 1: wrap a present in a piece of fabric

Step 2: admire your eco-friendly handiwork!

That’s really all there is to it. For mine, I cut squares of some party themed fabric I had in my sewing stash and double hemmed the edges, but raw edges would be fine too.

Any foldable material will make great wrapping. I plan on giving gifts wrapped in pretty silk scarfs, tea towels, or linen bags for a double gift.

If you have any other waste free wrapping ideas I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

My Furoshiki in action!