The southern tradition of wrapping food in a tea towel is combined with the prettier ornamental tradition of Japanese Furoshiki, the centuries-old tradition of wrapping objects, such as these Lodge stoneware baking dishes, in fabric. File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The southern tradition of wrapping food in a tea towel is combined with the prettier ornamental tradition of Japanese Furoshiki, the centuries-old tradition of wrapping objects, such as these Lodge stoneware baking dishes, in fabric. File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Japanese art of Furoshiki an elegant alternative for gift-giving

Holiday wrapping paper looks festive, but it contributes to the 25 percent increase in trash Americans throw away between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Furoshiki, the Japanese art of fabric wrapping, offers an alternative that’s both stylish and waste-free.

Clark County Green Neighbors program has been promoting furoshiki through demonstrations at events and social media posts. Instruction diagrams make furoshiki look more complicated than it is, said Tina Kendall, an environmental outreach specialist for the program.

“The nice thing is, fabric is forgiving,” she said.

We asked her to demonstrate the technique to show how a few simple folds of fabric and tying a knot can elegantly wrap a present.

You can use any kind of fabric. Kendall has used scarves, baby blankets, fabric remnants, even an old infant onesie.

“It’s something as easy as finding something around the house,” Kendall said. “We want to encourage people to think about different ways of wrapping gifts. It’s a way to reduce your waste not only during the holidays but year-round.”