A Salford businesswoman is urging people to ditch non-recyclable wrapping paper for more environmentally friendly alternatives.

Laura Holden runs the Walkden-based vintage fashion store Oh Betty Jean which specialises in vintage scarves and accessories.

She hosted a pop-up scarf-wrapping workshop at The Dispensary, Salford’s first and only dedicated zero-waste store, in Walkden to teach Salford residents an alternative way to wrap presents.  

The workshop taught attendees how to use vintage scarves to wrap gifts, adding some creative flair to presents but also reducing waste.

Laura said: “Being a part of the vintage community and seeing how important it is to combat the world of fast fashion and trying to just shop a little bit more ethically and sustainably, secondhand and vintage, it’s just a great way to do that.

“So, if you’re buying someone a vintage scarf, which is already a very, eco-friendly, fashionable gift, then using it for wrapping rather than using a load of wasteful wrapping paper, it’s like two gifts in one.”

Laura was inspired to start the business after the birth of her daughter, Betty Jean, in February 2017.  

She said: “About six months into maternity leave, I decided to set this up just as a hobby to start with. Originally, I was selling vintage ladies’ clothes, vintage kid’s clothes and vintage homeware. But my passion has always been accessories and scarves in particular 

“So, about a year ago, I just homed in on that.” 

Laura hopes that the workshops will encourage people to become more aware of the amount of waste that they are generating and how they can reduce it.

She said: “I just don’t see the point in all that waste and it just seems like such a shame. It’s not really the point of Christmas, I think one lovely, thoughtful token gift for everyone is more than enough. 

“You need to be very sort of conscious with you with your gifts and where you’re getting them from and who you’re buying them from.  

“People need to make an effort to support small and support local, not just for Christmas but throughout the year, it’s amazing that places like this [The Dispensary] have opened local to me and there’s some wonderful gift ideas in here.  

“You don’t just need to jump to Amazon or the big giants online to get things, get out, shop local.” 

This festive season, the average household will get through four rolls of wrapping paper, and around 108 million rolls of it will end up in the bin.  




 Fay Watts, owner of The Dispensary, said: “I think people are starting to become aware of the problems with wrapping paper, it’s literally used for two minutes and then very often unrecyclable.  

Try not to get wrapped upno pun intended, in the excitement and the need to spend, spendspend! It sounds cheesy but stuff is not what makes Christmas special, it’s all the little traditions that you develop on the run up to Christmas and on the day itself.   

I believe that reducing waste at Christmas goes beyond the wrapping and food waste – it’s just excess in general. I don’t want to sound like a party pooper because I absolutely love Christmas and any little swaps you can make will have an impact! 

If you simply can’t avoid wrapping paper this year – remember to do the scrunch test! 

The easiest way to determine this is to scrunch the wrapping paper in your hand, and if the paper remains scrunched it’s recyclable. If it springs back, it’s more than likely to be covered with a plastic film which can’t be recycled. 

For more information about Oh Better Jean visit their Facebook page and browse Laura’s collection on her Etsy shopFor more information about The Dispensary visit the website and follow them on Instagram. 

Featured image credit: Chloe Deakin

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