ConsumerismWaste Systems & Recycling

The Real Wrapping for a Permaculture Present

Christmas day is only days away and I know all you good permies have bought very practical, environmentally responsible presents for your loved ones. As you go to the shop to buy your recycled wrapping paper, stop and think. What is the truly responsible wrapping for this permaculture present?

Here is a wrapping that doesn’t cost a thing, monetarily or environmentally. It hasn’t really even been processed (except by heat). Introducing the banana leaf Christmas wrap – a gift-wrap inspired by Vietnamese tradition.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Find yourself a nice banana leaf without many tears.
2. Carefully cut, being sure to thank the banana, and wish it a happy festive season.
3. Heat the part of the banana leaf you need. Leaving the stem on can make it easier to hold. In Vietnam we use open fire, but you can experiment with a gas flame, boiling water, or even baking. Let us know how you go.
4. Heat evenly until the leaf becomes soft and flexible, a bit like leather. Don’t worry it won’t burn very quickly.
5. Now you are ready to wrap your present. Use slices of the stem to tie it up, and slices of leaf to make a bow. You may even choose to make a card or gift tag to accompany it.

Wishing you all a wonderfully sustainable festive season. All the little things can really make a difference.

I’d like to say a big thanks to Thao of HEPA, for helping me with my present.


  1. Use the left-over banana leaves when pressing clothes. Just place the banana leaves on the platform where you rest the iron while adjusting the clothing being pressed. Then place flat iron on the leaves. The wax in the will make ironing easier and the aroma of the leaves is great. Then just toss the leaves in the wormbin or compost pile. Worms love all banana parts.

  2. Wonderful – what a great idea! I wonder if there are other species of plants that are pliable/wrappable even without heating.

  3. beware of stains from the stem sap of fresh cut leaves!
    Feliz Navidad from New Orleans and Costa Rica (depending on the month)

  4. you can use canna lily leaves too. in the north of vietnam where bananas are less common than the south, cannas used to wrap the traditional rice cakes for the lunar new year. we use them here in mellbourne too.

  5. I wonder how well stamps stick to Banana leaf and how it would hold up in post handling? Couldnt be much worse then some of the stuff people use to wrap parcels. :)

  6. İ use naturally dried banana leaves for making lampshades, glueing them together over a bamboo frame – the glow of light obtained accentuates the striationsof the leaves

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