Camping season is well underway with school soon ending and summer vacation beginning. On both sides of the pond, plenty of festivals will launch and turn meadows into what will appear to be large swaths of brightly colored confetti. A fair number of those tents will be left behind as the combination of mud and partying will render them uninhabitable. But one enterprise in the United Kingdom aims to turn those unwanted tents into reusable wrapping paper.
Wrag Wrap is striving hard to change the Brits’ wrapping habits. Louise Oldridge and Nicky Rajska of Devon in southwestern England founded the company in part as a reaction towards living in a world where resources have become more constrained.
The statistics involving wrapping paper are all over the map. If Americans used a reusable gift wrap for only three of the average 42 gifts they gave annually, that would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. During Christmastime, the British consume approximately 227,000 miles of wrapping paper. And most of the wrapping paper on the market is problematic when it comes to recycling time: it is either embedded with metal or plastic, has tape all over it or is laminated–not to mention its carbon footprint as much of it comes from China.
Wrag Wrap’s solution channels Japanese traditional wrapping cloth, or furoshiki. Dating back to Japan’s Edo period, furoshiki were the traditional way to bundle and transport items such as clothing as well as gifts. They died off during the post World War II era, but have emerged in Japan again as concerns over the environmental impact of those pesky shopping bags have increased. The Japanese fashion retailer, Uniqlo, distributed them over the recent holiday season.
Wrag Wrap’s mostly manufactures its reusable wraps from recycled PET bottles. The material is a 45 percent RPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) and a 55 percent polyester blend. The company uses the Repreve brand of RPET and has an eventual goal to use only 100 percent recycled material in its fabric wraps.
The concept and colors are catching on: last fall Vogue featured them on its Green Style Blog. Some wraps crackle and sound like paper; others stretch, a nice option for those of us who cannot wrap a gift anyway.
And according to the UK’s Telegraph, discarded tents left behind at Britain’s famous festivals will become recycled into a new line of Wrag Wrap products. Oldridge and Rajska told the newspaper they will repurpose the tent material into new fabric wraps; any tents still usable will be turned over to charities.
Peruse Wrag Wrap’s colorful and more responsible line of reusable gift wrap here.
[Image credits: Wrag Wrap]
Based in Fresno, California, Leon Kaye is the editor of GreenGoPost.com and frequently writes about business sustainability strategy. Leon also contributes to Guardian Sustainable Business; his work has also appeared on Sustainable Brands, Inhabitat and Earth911. You can follow Leon and ask him questions on Twitter or Instagram (greengopost).