Are you looking to lessen your carbon footprint this holiday season? Using sustainable materials instead of single-use plastic when gifting is a great way to say "I thought of you" while reducing your environmental impact. Instead of buying new plates and wrapping them in plastic wrap, try one of these eco-friendly cookie packaging ideas for your holiday treats!
While the holiday season is a time that is nostalgic, cozy, and full of sharing memories and appreciation with loved ones, it is also one of the most wasteful times of year. According to the EPA, U.S. household garbage can increase by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Gifting delicious cookies is a smart way to ensure you are gifting something that the receiver will enjoy (and not return, donate, or the like). On top of that, choosing minimal or reusable packaging can also help to reduce waste. These 8 cookie packaging ideas help reduce waste while still being festive and fun!
1. Cookie Tins
Reusable, festive, and easy to find secondhand, Christmas cookies in a cookie tin just make sense! Since cookie tins have been a popular choice for gifting for years, there are plenty to find in thrift stores, estate sales, or even your own home. They're a classic for a reason, just like the tasty vegan gingersnaps inside!
2. Mugs or Glassware
Thrifting or swapping for some glasses or mugs is a great option for a small gift that also serves as food storage. Mugs and glasses are plentiful at secondhand stores and comparable in price to new plastic packaging. This makes them a great idea to gift for something that feels higher-end and more personal without breaking the bank. If you aren't too keen on making a ton of baked goods to dole out, a mug with a single cookie inside can make for a great coworker or friend gift!
3. Tea Towels or Napkins
Instead of clear cellophane bags or plastic wrap, a festive tea towel or cloth napkin can keep your baked goods free from dust. Just be sure if you are making chocolate chip cookies, you let them cool so you don't get melted chocolate on the towel! Use a clean tea towel or cloth napkin (not a kitchen or dish towel) made from natural materials such as cotton or linen. This ensures no plastic fiber lint reaches your homemade treats. You could even place cookies on the tea towel and close it using twist ties, or tie the corners in knots furoshiki-style to use even fewer materials!
For large cookies that might not fit in mugs or glasses, a plate may be the best way to be sure your cookies fit their packaging. Many people buy new plates yearly for their gifting. This leads to many Holiday-themed plates and trays ending up at thrift or charity shops. You'll have plenty to choose from!
5. Reusable Bags
Instead of single-use plastic bags, try popping your food items in reusable bags. I absolutely love Stasher bags; they are one of the best eco-friendly food storage solutions. In place of gift tags, you can use chalk markers and stencils to add a holiday message directly to the bag. As these bags are a higher cost than typical plastic bags, you can use them as gifts in themselves. Or, create a mini circular economy by filling them with tasty treats and having your friends and family return them each year for more!
6. Butcher Paper
Of the single-use materials, butcher paper may be the most eco-friendly packaging because it can be ripped up and placed into a home compost bin when you're done with it. Unlike wrapping paper, butcher paper is unbleached, untreated, and food-safe. Using butcher paper instead of plastic food packaging is an excellent option if you are operating a small business that would limit some of these other sustainable packaging options. Butcher paper is sometimes called kraft paper; just make sure that the paper you purchase is food-safe and compostable. Some parchment papers also fit this bill; just make sure it is home-compostable.
7. Mason Jars
If you put cookies in a mason jar, does that technically make it a cookie jar? Either way, mason jars are a simple and easy packaging solution as they come with an airtight lid built-in. Pop a bow on top or wrap some ribbon around it, and voila! You have a festive cookie gift. You can also clean out and save glass peanut butter or pasta sauce jars to reuse for free gift packaging.
8. Custom Cookie Boxes
Create your own custom boxes with materials you already have! Wrap a cardboard box with kraft paper, old paper bags, or newspaper. Decorate the box with whatever you have on hand, or forage for natural materials like pinecones. Line gift boxes or cardboard boxes you have on hand with compostable butcher or parchment paper to create a food-safe but unique cookie gift box.
Tips and Tricks
- If none of these feel like the best option for you, feel free to come up with your own creative ways to share your cookie gifts this holiday season (and share them in the comments below)!
- While exploring sustainable solutions, keep in mind that reduce, reuse, and recycle are in order of importance. For example, a reused container is likely more eco-friendly than a new product, even if it's made from recyclable materials.
- Whatever choice you make, just being conscious about the amount of waste you create this holiday season is a great way to start engaging with more sustainable practices.
Cookies are an excellent choice of gift! Homemade and thoughtful, cookies are universally enjoyed. Plus, there is no concern of the receiver not using or enjoying your present. Giving a thoughtful food gift is usually an easy way to ensure your gift will not end up in a white elephant, or worse, a landfill, by the following year.
You can tie a tea towel around the cookies, place them in a mason or other glass jar, or use a reusable or paper bag. Customize your packaging with a holiday message or reuse old ribbons or bows from previously received gifts.
You can tie a clean tea towel around the cookies for two gifts in one! Alternatively, you can wrap the cookies in butcher paper, compostable parchment paper, or clean fabric made of natural fibers.
Often, the cheapest and most eco-friendly solutions are secondhand. Whether that's thrifting, estate sale shopping, or rummaging around your own home, all of these solutions reduce demand for new gift packaging. Give your packaging items a good scrub with some anti-bacterial dish soap for peace of mind and get gifting! If shopping secondhand isn't an option, look for packaging made from renewable resources that can be composted at home (best) or recycled. Butcher and compostable parchment paper fit this bill nicely and are economical choices!
Thanks so much for reading this collection of eco-friendly cookie packaging ideas! I hope you try some out. Don't forget to pin this post to go back to when you need it!