Environment / Product review

Ditching plastic giftwrap for an eco alternative

By jess connett, Thursday Apr 4, 2019

Sustainable Bristol-based business FOLDS launched in October, offering a range of reusable fabric giftwrap that is a sustainable alternative to wrapping paper. Made from 100 per cent organic cotton and linen, the products are vegan-friendly and printed in the UK.

Soft and generous in size, easily wrapping up books, consumables and clothing items, FOLDS wraps start from £10.50. Colours range from dusky pink to deep navy, and bring out the texture of the fabrics. No scissors or tape are needed: simply wrap the present and tie a knot that is as simple or as complex as you like.

The fabric wraps are reusable and can be finished with string, ribbon and even greenery

Washable and fully reusable, creator Sarah says she hopes the product will encourage a culture of gift giving, where the wrapping forms part of the gift and is kept to be used again. And if you do reach the end of the product’s life, it is completely biodegradable and will break down naturally.

One of the vegan-friendly linen wraps

We checked in with Sarah, who has lived in Bristol for the past six years, to find out more about her business:

Have you always been aware of the environment?

Growing up, my Mum made sure we were conscious of the environment (she was using a ‘bag for life’ before they were even a thing!) so I’ve been a longtime advocate for sustainable living. I’ve always wanted to create something that would have a positive impact on the environment so FOLDS is truly a passion project for me.

Wrapping paper is something that people might not consider an environmental issue. What’s so bad about a nice bit of gift wrap?

It’s actually a really big issue. Over 50,000 trees are cut down each year just to make wrapping paper and a huge proportion of the final products contain plastics (like glitter and plastic coating). As a result, it ends up in landfill.

What convinced you to launch FOLDS as a business?

I was at home on Christmas Day in 2017, surrounded by wrapping paper carnage, and thought: “This is crazy!” I had a look around and there were a couple of businesses offering fabric gift wrap, but they weren’t using environmentally-friendly materials so it wasn’t solving the problem. Creating a truly sustainable alternative to wrapping paper has become my key aim for the business.

FOLDS founder Sarah says she has struggled to find a truly environmentally-friendly alternative to giftwrap

What has the reaction been to your giftwrap?

It’s been amazing! People are genuinely excited about it and I’ve had so many lovely conversations with like-minded people who want to reduce their waste. I think people like it because it’s a really simple concept but they can also get quite creative with it.

Has Bristol been a good place for FOLDS?

I love how forward-thinking Bristol is on environmental issues and I’ve found it a really exciting and supportive place to launch a sustainable business. There are so many small businesses in Bristol doing amazing and inspiring things, and I think most people are just genuinely excited to see another creative idea on the market. There’s no one else doing what FOLDS is doing so there’s been space to grow.

Environmentally-friendly products are often more expensive than the disposable option. How do you get around that barrier?

It’s a really difficult one. The initial cost of buying an environmentally-friendly product will often be more expensive but it will usually work out cheaper in the long run. If someone buys five rolls of wrapping paper, then that’s more than the cost of one of our reusable fabric wraps, which will last for years. But the initial cost can be difficult, so it’s also about working out which products someone will use. At the end of the day, reducing our environmental impact is about consuming less, not more.

Buy FOLDS online at www.foldswrap.com or at Zero Green on North Street in Bedminster.

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