Did you know that every year, Canadians send approx. 540,000 tonnes of wrapping paper and bags to the landfill? That’s equivalent to 100,000 elephants.

In Manitoba, the following holiday wrapping items can’t go in your blue bin:

  1. Wrapping paper
  2. Bows and ribbon
  3. Holiday gift bags
  4. Tissue paper
  5. Plastic shopping bags

This holiday season, reduce waste by using what you already have in your home to wrap your [hopefully already sustainable] gifts. If you don’t have anything to wrap your gift with, consider purchasing a reusable gift bag you can use for years to come (such as these from Reclaim Mending). If you’re adding a ribbon to your gift, be sure it’s made from material you can reuse for future gifts.

Here are some examples:


Use a scarf. You can either take the scarf back at the end of the night, or give it to the recipient as part of their gift.

Tea Towel or Scrap Material

Use a towel or scrap material you have lying around the house. Be sure the material gets reused again after (by you or the recipient).

Reusable Bag

Either use a bag you already have, or purchase a holiday theme reusable bag to use for years to come (see Reclaim Mending).


Collect old newspapers or flyers to wrap your gifts with. Be sure to use minimal tape (and remove the tape before recycling the paper). Colorful comics make especially fun wrapping.


Have an old map kicking around your house that you don’t use anymore? These make great wrapping paper.


For smaller gifts, use the paper from last year’s calendar!