With our bellies full and Thanksgiving already behind us, now is the time where we prepare gifts for the Christmas season. Whether you shop for or hand make the perfect gift for those you cherish, you want to dress up the surprise. This time of year is when consumers purchase and use the most wrapping paper but, sadly, it’s also one of the biggest waste producers we have. Think of the millions of mounds of crumpled remnants of festive activities churning through our landfills and clogging up space that could be better used by vibrant, healthy trees. It’s significant food for thought. And our lungs.
Luckily, many folks are turning to more eco-friendly options for the holiday season that are both lighter on the planet and on our wallets. A staggering average of 80% of consumers are game for reusing packaging such as gift bags and boxes. Here are a few eco-friendly options to help you reduce your waste this Christmas and still feel just as festive…
REUSE – Save your gift bags and boxes each season so you can reuse them the following year. You can even reuse tissue paper or use old newspaper to stuff gift bags. As far as wrapping paper, you definitely can reuse it. Just don’t crumple it into a ball. You can easily trim the torn edges to wrap smaller gifts. For larger presents, you can use newer paper – simply avoid putting stickers on the paper or writing on it. (Unless you can cover it with a bigger sticker, next year.)
SHOPPING – Many times, when you buy something fragile in a store, they will wrap it in tissue or newspaper. Instead of tossing or recycling this, reuse it in your gift wrapping. When you do hit the stores, opt for reusable shopping bags to keep the plastic bags out of our landfills.
COMICS & MAPS – A really cool wrapping idea is to wrap gifts using the comics sections of your newspaper, magazine articles or photographs, old encyclopedia or dictionary pages and even old maps. These can be eye-catching and often times your recipient is even more excited by how unique the present looks.
JARS & CANDLES – You can make your own gifts using old mason or candle jars. You can create a baking mix, hot cocoa mix, body scrub or even lotion. Using old tags or scratch paper and some markers or crayons, you can create a unique tag with a recipe or instructions. Often, these types of gifts need no wrapping except a bow. Bows can be recycled each year or made from scrap fabric.
A GIFT WITHIN A GIFT – You can purchase winter or fashion scarves or handkerchief and wrap your present inside of that. These items can be used so it’s like you are supplying another gift!
PACKING PAPER & DRAWSTRINGS – When you get mail, sometimes it is wrapped with brown packing paper. Save this for gift wrapping. You can keep it simple and sleek or get some markers and crayons and create a design. Also, you might just have a few drawstring bags laying around. Many times you get these for free at events or from other products, such as Crown Royal bags. You can easily reuse these to wrap presents.
While there are certainly more ways you can creatively wrap holiday presents, these are the easiest to implement because you are already interacting with these materials near daily. Feel free to think outside of the box when it comes to wrapping your Christmas gifts. Many times your gift recipients will be blown away by your creativity and feel even more special because you took time to produce an interesting look. No matter how or in what way you have found to reduce waste, the earth, the animals and future generations will thank you!