Pass the parcel with Wrag Wrap, wrapping 'paper' that goes on forever

Pass the parcel with Wrag Wrap, wrapping 'paper' that goes on forever

Wrap your gifts in an eco-friendly fabric that looks and feels remarkably like wrapping paper. Wrag Wrap won't tear or degrade, and it's meant to be re-used again and again

By Abby Trow
Do you bit to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill by using Wrag Wrap

Wrag Wrap has been developed by sisters-in-law Nicky Rajska and Louise Oldridge, who are based just outside Totnes in Devon. Colourful and tactile, Wrag Wrap is made in China from 45% recycled polyester (fibre made from plastic bottles) and 55% polyester, and the aim is that it's made from 100% recycled material when costs allow. Prices from £5.99

You might think that wrapping paper is recyclable, because it's, well, paper and all paper can be made into more paper. Not so, says Nicky Rajska, co-founder of Wrag Wrap, who has spent many months immersed in the complex subject of materials that are made from recycled waste, what is really meant by the term 'eco-friendly' and whether people always tell the truth in this arena (they don't).

'Louise and I used to comment every Christmas about the huge amount of waste that's generated by wrapping paper, and we started to think about a recycled fabric alternative, something that could endlessly be reused. The thing about a great deal of wrapping paper that's sold is that as soon as it's treated with glitter or plastic coatings, then it becomes unrecyclable, which means it goes to landfill. We then started on a long journey that has finally resulted in Wrag Wrap.'

Wrag Wrapped gifts look delightful and you can be secure in the knowledge that unless your children lunge at them with a knife or scissors, the wrapping won't be damaged, no matter how vigorously they go about their present opening. And that crumpled heap on the floor can simply be shaken out and folded, ready to be used again when needed.

 

Christmas gift bags
A delightful stack of Wrag Wrapped gifts

This does raise an etiquette question, of course... should you give the wrap back to the person who gave you the present, or is it OK to keep it and pass it on? Rajska's interested to see how it goes. 'I mean, you don't keep the Tupperware box that someone's brought a food over to your house in do you, but I like to think of it more being passed on from person to person... and what goes around, comes around, so the wrap may well come back to you before too long anyway!'

So why recycled polyester fibre that is made only in the Far East and China, and not say, recycled fabrics that could be collected here? Rajska and Oldridge undertook a great deal of research into sustainable textiles, advised by expert Kate Fletcher. 'Recycled polyester, which is made from the fibres you get when you recycle plastic bottles, came out clearly as being the most environmentally-friendly, in part because you don't need that much heat in the process, so CO2 emissions are far less than with other processes.'

We don't have factories here in the UK that manufacture recycled polyester fabric, which is why Wrag Wrap products are made in China. 'We visited the factory that makes our products and it's a very efficient, impressive operation. We also like the fact that the dyeing process, printing our designs onto the fabric, is a closed-loop process, so there's no water effluent.'

The actual fabric used is Repreve, from US company Unifi. 'Unifi ensures that the plastic bottles used in its fabrics are post-consumer. They had found that some factories in the Far East are making plastic bottles and then using them for the fibre straight away, so they aren't post-consumer.'

 

One product in the Wrag Wrap collection crackles in the way paper
Bottle bags

Rajska and Oldridge are very keen to make the range from 100 per cent recycled polyester, but the cost of doing that at present is too high. 'We do want it to be fully recycled content, and as soon as we can do this, we will.'

In the meantime, let's see how long it takes for us to adjust our behaviour towards gift-wrapping. No doubt in a few years' time, we'll look back and think how bonkers it was to have paper with no hope of an afterlife.

Buy Wrag Wrap from its website, or it's available on www.bouf.com, with more outlets coming on board shortly. 

Louise and Nicky (right) want to do their bit to reduce landfill
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