Breaking news from the North Pole: Santa is going green. Bryn Mahoney, Martha’s Vineyard resident and founder of Island Wrapping Company, came up with the idea to sell North Pole-themed newspapers as wrapping paper to show kids that the elves were adopting eco-conscious practices. Island Wrapping Company wrapping paper is printed on actual newspaper — which can be recycled — with soy-based ink.
The wrapping paper looks as if it is an issue of the North Pole Sun. Recipients of gifts wrapped in this paper can read up on the latest North Pole news such as “Naughty and Nice List Revisited” and a Sports Section covering the most recent snowball match. Mahoney sells her product on Etsy during the holiday season.
Island Wrapping Company, though created with an eco-conscious story in mind, did not start out as completely sustainable. “I would say it was the least sustainable business idea,” says Mahoney. When she started the company in 2016, Mahoney didn’t realize that the conventional wrapping paper she was printing on was not recyclable.
More recently, she has worked to achieve higher environmental standards. After her commitment with a previous manufacturer expired in 2020, she began partnering with the Martha’s Vineyard Gazette, where the North Pole Sun is printed on real newsprint with eco-friendly materials. Mahoney has cut out unnecessary shipments and no longer has her products individually wrapped in plastic. She sells through Etsy, which offsets sellers’ carbon footprint by investing in emission reduction projects, such as renewable energy and forest conservation.
“I’ve always been a nature lover. But I think having kids is what has made me more aware of the planet besides my own little existence on it,” says Mahoney.
Mahoney hopes that her eco-friendly product — and her company’s evolution toward sustainability over the past few years — will inspire others to think carefully about how their gift-giving impacts the environment, whether or not they buy her wrapping paper. “I’m hoping that people even if they don’t buy it are able to see that there’s a better way of gifting,” says Mahoney, “That Christmas and the holidays and gift-giving doesn’t have to be wasteful.”