Updated: Apr 3
Did you know that we produce 30% more waste during the festive period? This includes 227,000 miles of wrapping paper that is thrown away each year. Many rolls of Christmas wrapping paper are laminated with plastic, covered in glitter and therefore viewed as a recycling contaminant. Unable to be recycled, this paper will sit in landfill.
Switching to reusable gift wrap is a great place to start if we want to reduce these figures — not only at Christmas but throughout the year, whether giving gifts on birthdays, anniversaries, Valentines day, and so on.
The art of wrapping gifts in fabric originates in Japan, where it's referred to as Furoshiki — a word that translates "bath (furo) spread (shiki)." It derives from the Edo period (between 1603 and 1868 in the history of Japan) and the practice of bundling clothes together at the sentō (public baths) to prevent bathers' clothes from becoming mixed up.
In the years that followed, Furoshiki was adopted by merchants as a means to transport their products, or protect and decorate a gift. However, it's Minoro Takohama who is credited with turning fabric gift wrapping into an art-form, somewhere around 1935 or 1936. He developed a variety of wrapping techniques to suit different gift shapes and sizes, all without the need for scissors and plastic tape.
If you're wondering where and how to begin, a quick search of YouTube is a great place to start, with step-by-step videos showing you some of the easiest techniques to master. Here, Marianne demonstrates how to wrap gifts with traditional Furoshiki wraps, but also scarves or bandanas (or any scrap fabric you have lying around!):
The lovely thing about using reusable gift wrap is that you're giving a gift within a gift! Not only does it make your present look beautiful and unique, you're passing on an important message: to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! And this message will be passed on again and again, each time the wrap is re-gifted. Who knows who your knot wrap might end up with?! They can also be repurposed as a scarf, or to wrap a packed lunch up in.
This year, our organic and Fairtrade cotton reusable gift wraps are available in vibrant green or red. At 50 x 50cm in size, they are versatile enough to fit a wide range of gifts. And it gets better 😊 For every pack sold, we’ll donate £1 to Freshfields — a community focused non-profit charity caring for abandoned, abused and unwanted domestic and small farm animals, along with sick and injured wildlife.
Visit https://www.freshfields.org.uk for more information on their fantastic work.