Reusable gift wrap from Refabrica

Reusable gift bags from Vancouver-based Refabrica are a gift in themselves.

Credit: Refabrica bags

Reusable gift bags are gifts in themselves—and show there’s no shame in regifting


The gift wrap industry sells somewhere between $2–5 billion of product every year in North America, much of which ends up in the trash after a single use. So why do we even wrap our gifts?

For the most part, it’s to create an element of surprise. But it seems pretty wasteful, cutting down trees and using lots of energy to make pretty papers that will only be ripped apart in order to get at our gifts.

Yes, there are some recycled-content gift wrapping papers out there, and some pretty stylie ones to boot (like from our friends at Ecojot). But at the root of it, the concept of using gift wrap can be challenged. It’s not the golden rule of gift giving.

And there is another way to wrap gifts that still looks great, keeps the element of surprise and treds lightly on the planet.



Reusable gift wrap


I run a sustainable corporate gift business in Vancouver and this past spring I was lucky to meet Diane Flanagan of Refabrica, a local Vancouver business that manufactures beautiful gift bags from fabrics reclaimed from the furniture upholstery industry.

The concept is simple: give gifts in reusable bags that look cool so people want to gift and regift with them again and again. The bag itself is a gift and can be used for various things, like taking shoes to the gym or picking up groceries from the store. With a selection of sizes, there are bags for different types of gifts, from books and wine to candles and spa products.

I’m a firm believer that the real value in a gift is well more than the object of what’s being given or received; it’s in the story—and not only the story from where it came but also of where it’s yet to travel. Reusable gift bags show thought for the long-term: the bag will go on a journey, it’ll be used and reused, gifted and regifted.

Reusable gift bags respect your relationships and the environment, your family, friends, clients and employees. I’m sold, Refabrica bags are all good.

Refabrica bags are available locally in Vancouver at Book Warehouse and