Ix-nay on the gift wrap, eh?

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In the U.S., an additional 5 million tons of waste is generated during the holiday season. 4 million tons of this is wrapping paper and shopping bags. Need I say more?

I know, you’ve heard it all before. Use newspaper; re-use kraft paper grocery bags (which you shouldn’t have in your possession, because you use a reusable shopping bag, right?) and decorate with paint or markers–get your kids involved; place gifts inside of other gifts. An eco-chic tote makes a nifty gift bag! blah blah blah. Everyone will be talking about your ingenuity at the egg-nog bowl.

Not at your holiday gathering, you say? You’ll be ridiculed? Oh, come on! You can stand up to that nonsense–think of the trees and the landfill space you’ll help to save. Take it from me. I know. It’s hard at first. But after a while, they’ll get used to what I’m sure my family calls, ‘odd eco-ideosynchracies’. Who knows, maybe you’ll even inspire them!

Okay, if you are just unable to gamble your holiday reputation on homemade gift wrap, at least go for recycled paper. Better yet, recycled gift wrap with soy based inks. Yes, you’ll find it on my website–I like to offer options for those who aren’t quite ready to make the leap. Baby steps to earth-friendlier living are very commendable.

What about the wrapping paper on gifts we receive? I say, make it a game to unwrap gifts as carefully as possible–the ones who’ve ripped their gift wrap to shreds get KP duty.

Here are some clever ways to reuse wrapping paper:

  • donate it!
  • cut up and put in an album along with your holiday photos
  • use as drawer liners
  • cut out pictures from the paper for future gift cards
  • use scraps as decorative accents on another gift instead of bows or ribbons
  • matte pictures with it
  • create your New Year’s outfit, ribbons and all (kidding)
  • wrap another gift, of course!

Whatever you do, don’t feed the paper to your blazing fire. Many decorative papers actually contain lead and other toxins and the last thing you want to do is poison your holiday guests (or, more importantly, your children). And not all wrapping paper is recyclable. If it contains non-paper additives such as gold and silver colored shapes, glitter, plastic, etc., it is destined for the landfill. Be sure to remove the tape before tossing it into the bin.

Giving is one of the most joyous experiences during the holiday season and year-round. Giving up wrapping paper is a way to give back to the planet, lasting well into future generations in the form of trees and open space (free of landfill).

Do you have a creative way to wrap gifts without wrapping paper?

One Response

  1. Last year, I made a bunch of reusable gift bags out of recycled stuff from the thrift store – some holiday pajamas and more. I put up a tutorial if anyone is interested: http://www.cheaplikemeblog.com/carbon/making-reusable-gift-bags/

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