Trash-Free Holidays

Five ecofriendly gift-wrapping ideas.

The holidays are supposed to be a time of giving and thanks. Instead, most of us manage to turn it into a hair-pulling frenzy of a season that we can’t wait to be rid of. On top of that madness, we become more wasteful. Consider this: Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, household trash in the U.S. increases by 25 percent, reports the Environmental Protection Agency. Want to change that? Try these five ecofriendly gift-wrapping ideas.

Photo: Courtesy of Bobo


Later, Paper!

Asian cultures have long used wrapping scarves made from leftover cloth to transport and protect goods. The scarves, called bojagi in Korea and furoshiki in Japan, were re-used multiple times, hence their ecofriendly nature. Bobo, a Connecticut-based company, features a line of wrapping scarves ($8 to $48) that draw from this same idea, except its fabrics bear bright hues and patterns. Plus, they make wrapping pesky shapes—think fruit-cake tins and wine bottles—a cinch. Available at Flowers for You at 700 Bishop St., Reflections of the Heart in Kahala Mall or at



Bow Out

Instead of a bow, top a gift with a natural element. Shells, flowers, fallen seedpods come in amazing shapes and colors, and they’re free. Or, nudge a friend to be more Earth-conscious by topping a gift with a curly compact fluorescent bulb.


Ban the Box

Skip a cardboard box by giving a gift inside a gift. For example, for a plant-lover, use a flower pot. For a foodie, use a saucepan. Or, disguise presents in reusable shopping totes. We found a cute option at INTO on Hotel St. that was $19.95. Also consider baskets, like a coconut leaf version from Native Books Na Mea Hawaii at Ward Warehouse ($10).

Photo: David Croxford

Gloss Daily 

Wrap your gift with magazine pages that correspond with the personality of the recipient. For example, if your friend surfs, find cool photos of waves. If your sister loves to travel, cut out images of faraway countries. In Hawaii, magazines are not recycled; they’re burned at the H-POWER facility. So do your part and give those glossies an extra use.


Photo: Courtesy Sweet Organics and Naturals

Tied to Nature

Keep your presentation festive by using a biodegradable bow or ribbon. Online store Sweet Organics and Naturals sells curling ribbons (in 19 designs) made of cotton and colored with soy-based inks ($6). The company also offers sustainable Lokta paper ribbons, which are handmade in Nepal from bark ($5).