Saving Tree Shopping- Eco-Friendly Party Paper Products

by - Wednesday, April 06, 2016

I love planning a party.  I think I would have loved being a party planner, except that I have trouble with how quickly it is all over. Does anyone else feel that ping of sadness at the big pile of wrapping paper on the floor on Christmas morning or pulling down decorations. A lot of this stuff happens so fast, and then it is just waste. 

Of course, we still HAVE to celebrate. Celebrating is a very serious matter; we can't do anything about all the sad and bad stuff that happens in life, and often we can't help that those things are a big deal. But if we can put similar energy and creativity into the good things, we can have more positive lives. That's what this blog is all about- putting our energy into positive choices and experiences to  have a more balanced and positive life.

Planning a great party is a fun challenge, so it is a perfect opportunity to take on more eco-friendly (and tree-friendly) options as part of the challenge. We buy so much stuff for parties that quickly makes it into the trash, could there be better options? Wrapping paper that doesn't take down trees? One time use plates that won't turn up in a landfill? It sounds crazy, and maybe not worth it, but it turns out there are TONS of options, most of which are plenty affordable. Time to change the way we gift and party!

Wrapping Paper

Before we jump off on this topic, I should say wrapping paper can generally be found Made in the USA and recyclable anywhere. Because there are a billion good options anywhere from Walmart to Paper Source, there is really no reason to buy paper made far away or that can't be recycled (that damn foil business- so pretty, so pointless). It's a happy area, because good options are easy to find.

That being said, you can find a great option. You don't have to settle on this front. Wrapping paper, though it sets up a surprise, is essentially instant garbage. Does a tree need to come down so that you can immediately stuff this one time use prettiness into a trash bag? It's a bummer. There are plenty of creative options you can use to reuse- newspaper as wrapping paper or old magazine pages. Wrap your gift in something unexpected and usable like an oven mit or a reusable cloth sack. If none of that sounds like your jam, you can still have a beautiful gift pile without sending a tree to its demise. 

Recycled wrapping stuff is all over the place, and it is awesome! I am pumped about this, so let's do it. 
from Amazon

Bags! My mother in law is a big advocate for gift bags instead of wrapping paper, because you can use them over and over again (especially when you are gifting within your household). She is a genius, because we really have used the same two or three bags for years (hello Disney Princesses and snowman bags, good to see you again). If you want to ultra-minimize your wrapping impact, I suggest looking for recycled gift bags. Jillson Roberts sells gift bags that are recycled, but come in lots of colors and finishes. You can also get them in bulk, and never buy another gift bag again. You can also get bags with that brown kraft paper look out of recycled paper from Bag Source and Creative Hobbies.

from Amazon
Recycled Kraft Paper- Once I make it through our wedding tissue paper (so basically never), I think my next wrapping plan is to just buy a gigantic roll of all-recycled kraft paper to wrap with and cloth ribbons I can reuse. That will be the whole plan. Pratt Paper is based in Georgia and their kraft roll is made of 100 recycled material. Avidti also makes their rolls of kraft paper out of 100% recycled material; it looks a little intense if you aren't working in shipping or art with kids, but you could buy one roll of this and be set for life. You will never have to buy wrapping paper again. Anna Sees Supplies also sells some giant rolls of 100% recycled, Made in America kraft paper among their recycled wrapping supplies (so does Give it Pretty, Soiree Supply, ha supply, The Paper Chickie, and Handmade Craft Supply- so many choices).

from le Box Boutique

You can find recycled kraft bags, paper and boxes on stores like le Box Boutique (they have so many things on this store, but not everything is recycled).

Recycled Kraft Cards and Envelopes- You can even kraft paper your cards, because recycled paper is taking over everything (oh, is that only in my heart? I haven't changed your mind?). We bought these Darice bulk kraft envelopes to make The Bub's first birthday invitations (with a set of letter stamps), and we have used them at every chance since. Blank canvases that can go in any direction, I feel confident these cards are going to greatly reduce our mail-related footprint. This is a new favorite for sure, and I don't think we would go back. Want to do postcards? You can find those too.

Everyday's a Holiday sells wrapping paper and cards all made on kraft paper. I love the idea of getting your greeting cards on all recycled paper as well or making them on your own. Certainly a little more thoughtful, but also a lot more work, so it's nice that Etsy stores have options like these to try.

from Amazon

Buttons Bags and Bows sells pretty recycled kraft wrapping paper with pretty and holiday-appropriate designs and patterns. Perfect if you want to wrap with lots of interesting patterns but you don't want to chop down a tree in the process.

Caroline Creates makes geometric patterns on wrapping paper out of 100% recycled and recyclable paper. So pretty and simple to dramatic effect. It also kind of inspires me to stamp my own kraft paper to make some homemade wrapping paper myself. Paper Forward makes similar papers with more figurative, less geometric paper.

The Gift Wrap Company is a favorite of mine, and they sell it at one of my favorite grocery stores- PCC- so we can buy  recycled, and recyclable product locally. I love it- though I really wish it was also made in America. Still, their wrapping paper, bows, and bags are very pretty and this might be a good option for you to finish up the supplies they need.
from Amazon
Jillson Roberts sells bright and patterned wrapping paper made of 100% post-consumer product (and they are even on 90% post consumer rolls). I love any option where you can wrap a gift where no tree comes down, and if minimalist/ kraft paper isn't your aesthetic, than this gives you a much more fun and varied option.  They aren't all the same, so check into it, but I think this company might be a great starting place.

from Le Box Boutique
LeBox Boutique from Missouri sells recycled kraft paper wrapping products, including boxes, bags, and (my favorite) tissue paper. I really think it looks pretty and subtle to use kraft paper for all of your wrapping, and if you tie on some bright or colorful ribbons, you can make it look so pretty.

from Knot and Bow
Knot and Bow out of Brooklyn are mostly known for their party supplies (check them out in that section too), but I do think their parcel gift tags (coming in coordinating colors sets or you pick your own) are adorable and worth pointing out on their own merits. You can buy smaller sets as well, though they seem to come in pointless plastic packaging. Knot and Bow also sells their own 100% recycled kraft wrapping paper.

from Popular Designs
Popular Designs makes some of my favorite wrapping accessories (and most of them are recycled- awesome), but my favorite is definitely their bows. They are made of recycled magazines for goodness sake! That's genius. Who would have thought you could still use cutesy bows and be eco-friendly? New favorite thing. I also would buy the pantone gift tags, straight out of a vintage book in a second. So cool. This store may be my new Etsy favorite. You can get simple recycled kraft bows from Leaf and Grain.

from Tone and State
Tone and State sells gorgeous handmade and geometric wrapping paper. It's not your cheapest option, but it might make a beautiful wedding gift wrap or wrap for a very special event.

Wrap and Revel sells recycled wrapping paper (30% post-consumer content) in fresh and modern designs. Looks very chic and light-hearted to me. If Kate Spade made recycled wrapping paper... You can find other more chic options at Ruff House Art and Dandelion Paper.

Tissue Paper- There is no reason to buy wrapping tissue made of fresh new trees because it is like pre-garbage garbage. It isn't just instatrash. It's already trash. It's already crumpled up for goodness sake! For that reason, recycled paper makes a lot of sense. You can get it in kraft paper colors like this from Premium Quality Gift Wrap Paper or Your Party and Gift Shop.

Party Supplies

I addressed some of these on the Greening the Basics, but these are party decorations that are unabashedly festive while also being eco-friendly awesome. Woot!

from Young Hearts Love
Bunting- A bunch of Etsy stores sell all kinds of cool bunting made of all sorts of recycled paper. You may buy something you think is great, like this map bunting from Young Hearts Love, or you might feel inspired to make something yourself! Making a bunting is totally doable no matter your crafty skill level, and it can have a big effect on party decor.

Cold Porcelain Shop sells made in America and recycled tissue paper to make things like tissue paper flowers. Then, if you are like us, you can be the proud owner of a gargantuan pile of tissue paper for the rest of your life. Someday, we will use it up. Someday. Still, the tissue paper poof is a great way to get a lot of impact at nearly no cost (just lots of time and resentment from family members). Ladies who Lunch Poms sells recycled tissue paper in a wide variety of colors as well, so you can find something you would like.

Green Party Goods sells helpful things like recycled cocktail napkins and the like. Not any more expensive than cocktail napkins (and cheaper than the monogrammed ones- that is a mistake, my engaged friends), and it keeps another tree from being chopped down.

We used some Knot and Bow ribbon and tags for our wedding decor, so I can vouch for this etsy store's gorgeous products. They sell sweet birthday candles out of beeswax (candles are worth getting a healthier version) that will last 15 minutes (that's a lot of renditions of the Birthday Song). They even come in cute glass jars instead of wasting paper or plastic on packaging. Be sure to check out their selection of party stuff; though not all of it is recycled or eco-friendly, I think everything is made in the US or Canada.
from Pretty Paper Musings
Pretty Paper Musings sells paper confetti made out of recycled paper goods like books, magazines, and maps. Sure to be a hit at a party, and you give the paper a second chance at usefulness. Those little plastic confetti, though super fun to flick, are a hot mess of environmental waste. What are you going to do with them after the party is over anyway? I love these heart-shaped ones made from books- they remind me of Jane Austen and just seem really romantic to me. Pretty Parties also sells adorable recycled confetti with a different fluffier/ crinkled texture if you are looking for something with more body. Funk T Junk sells confetti too (it's almost like all you need is a shaped cutter and a piece of paper ready to be retired- I might try to do this myself next time).

from Soiree Supply

Soiree Supply,  out of Des Moines, also sells large rolls of 100% recycled kraft paper (see? This is really a thing) intended for wrapping or a big decor wall like this one. They have all kinds of cool party supplies in the store too, so I know I will be coming back here next time we are planning something.
from Amazon
Susty Party Supplies sell my favorite party supplies right now (just what we all need strong opinions on, right? Party Supplies)This genius company makes party plates that are tree-free, 100% compostable, and stay comparably priced to all the paper stuff that tears down trees or (worse) plastics that end up in landfills. They have a pretty wide variety of plates and silverware, so you can find an option that works for your shindig! And it's all on prime, so don't give me any of the "had to run to the store" business. You knew this was coming; buy party supplies that wont cause any trees to be cut down or fill any landfills! They also have sustainably made napkins and cups! Does your solo cup help train blind and visually impaired individuals for green collar jobs? No? So maybe do these instead.

from Amazon
Tranquilo Earth Friendly Supplies- This company sells paper straws that are made in the USA from responsibly sourced trees (this means the trees are cut and replanted in a sustainable way. They will biodegrade in days instead of filling landfills and oceans for all of eternity. If you want straws at your party, skip the plastic and go with these.

Wrapping me Up sells oodles of party and wrapping supplies, but my favorite might be pint berry baskets made of recycled paper, which they say you can put party favors in. Please, someone invite me to this party, because I want to know what you put in it. Or, if there are berries as a favor, I would be all over it.

Ready to host a party? Me too! These seem awesome. If you are looking to green other parts of your shopping, check out my Mega List of Shopping lists, which has all sorts of cool lists and suggestions so you can green up your everyday and special occasion shopping. Companies want us to feel like we don't have options, so they can get away with treating the environment and their workers badly, but we almost always do have a choice, so check out the list and see how many options you really do have!

Want to make your home greener? No matter the size or location, you can limit your waste and make your house have a more positive impact on the environment. Check out the Green Home Page for thousands of ideas on how to do it.

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