Low Waste Alternatives to Traditional Wrapping Paper

Gift wrapped in brown paper

Giving and receiving gifts can be a joyful experience, but the wrapping paper waste it creates can be a bit off-putting. When it’s just one present, it’s easy to simply toss the paper away and move along. But after a holiday, party or shower, the waste is difficult to ignore.

According to Earth911, 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper is produced annually in the US alone. Approximately half of that – 2.3 million pounds – makes its way to landfills. That’s the equivalent of tossing out 10 Boeing 757 airliners each year!

Some wrapping paper can’t easily be recycled because it’s a combination of paper fiber and non-paper materials laminated together. This also means that traditional wrapping paper is not biodegradable. The good news is there are many inexpensive and sustainable alternatives to wrapping paper.

Here are a few sustainable wrapping paper alternatives:

Recyclable

  • Newspaper with secured with twine* (pro tip: try using the comic section)
  • Paper bags with a piece of nature such as a pine sprig or leaf attached*
  • Cardboard boxes tied with decorative string*

*Remove any non-recyclable material before recycling

Reusable

  • Old fabric with a decorative print or interesting color (try tying it in a Japanese Furoshiki style)
  • DIY reusable fabric bags (Don’t sew? Find ready-made ones on online marketplaces such as Etsy!)

Still have some old wrapping paper?

If you still have traditional paper wrapping paper or gift bags hanging around, use and reuse it as many times as possible before tossing in the recycling. Make sure to toss any plastic wrapping “paper,” as well as bows and ribbon in the garbage.

Tissue paper goes in the compost, not the recycling.

Curbside Food Composting

BEAT THE “ICK” FACTOR!

  • Reduce moisture and odors in your pail or cart by adding soiled or shredded paper, or by wrapping your food scraps in newspaper. You can also freeze your food scraps and then put them in the cart on collection day.
  • Avoid odors, mold, and insects by washing your compost cart and pail regularly (the pail is dishwasher safe, but the label may not survive). When rinsing your cart, please dump the dirty water out on a lawn or other vegetated/dirt area and not in the street/storm drains.
  • Keep your compost pail clean by using a 2.6 or 3 gallon compostable bag liner. Various local stores and online vendors sell certified compostable bags.
  • Need a compost pail for daily collection of kitchen scraps? Contact us at (707) 255-5200 or [email protected] — or reuse any appropriately-sized container that you have at home.
  • Sprinkle baking soda, or pour vinegar or a bit of boiling salted water, inside your compost pail or cart. Citrus, mint, basil, rosemary and lavender (leaves or essential oils) can also help repel bugs.
  • Store your cart in a shaded area if possible, and make sure to keep the lid closed.
  • Place your compost cart out for service every week (even if it’s not full).
  • Don’t have many yard trimmings, but still want to compost food scraps? Just contact Customer Service at 255-5200 or [email protected] to order a smaller 35-gallon compost cart.
  • Napa’s Truly Clean Bins also offers regular steam cleaning services of residential and commercial carts/bins.

Click here for detailed information on the program, including a list of accepted items.

Reduce landfill waste by composting all your food scraps!

Holiday Schedule

With the holidays on Mondays this season, your collection day will be a day later than normal for both Christmas and New Year’s week. Don’t forget – sign up for our weekly collection reminders!

Don’t take a holiday from composting this season. Remember to compost your food scraps and food-soiled paper to reduce waste. Include the Food!

Make it easy to recycle and compost at holiday parties by grouping the 3 bins together. Download signs for bins here!

You can also check out our tips to reduce waste when wrapping gifts.

 

 

Compost Pail and Cart Care Tips

  • Reduce moisture and odors in your pail or cart by adding soiled or shredded paper or wrapping your food scraps in newspaper.
  • Keep your compost pail clean by using a 2 or 3 gallon compostable bag liner. Various local stores and online vendors sell compostable bags.
  • Need a compost pail for daily collection of kitchen scraps? Stop by the Payment Center at 598 Lincoln Ave for a free pail — or reuse any appropriate-sized container that you have at home.
  • Avoid odors, mold and insects by washing your compost pail regularly (it’s dishwasher safe but the label may not survive). It also helps to sprinkle baking soda or rub vinegar on the inside of your compost pail or cart lid.
  • Don’t have many yard trimmings, but still want to compost food scraps? Just contact Customer Service at (707) 255-5200 to order a smaller brown cart.

For detailed information on the program, including a list of accepted items, please visit our Curbside Composting page.