While the holiday season is fast approaching, it is tempting to put most of our focus into making the most eye-catching wrapped gifts for your loved ones. Therefore, it’s easy to forget about the waste these gifts can cause. Wrapping paper produces about 40% of the United States’ paper waste. A lot of wrapping paper can't be recycled due to how thin and saturated with ink it is.
While it might not seem like you and your loved ones could create that much paper waste on your own, each family with a garbage bin full of holiday colored ribbons and bows can add up. So, this holiday season get creative with your wrapping and use more unique items!
- Use What You Already Have
While that new, festive paper at the store might be tempting, remember to use up all of the old paper from the last holiday season before you purchase more. In some cases your scrap can act as an accent piece, can inspire an artful collage, or add flair to a large box that needs multiple pieces of paper to fully cover the gift as it is.
- Brown Paper Bags
We have all seen a book cover made of a brown paper bag, so why not make wrapping paper out of it! If you run out of regular paper, get creative and use brown paper bags to give your gift a homemade feel. If you use paper bags, you can even stamp, draw or write on the outside to make it special. Some ideas for stamps? A craft sponge or an array of cookie cutters in holiday shapes. Another awesome option is craft paper. You can easily dress it up with ribbon (which you can reuse again and again, and it’s 100% recyclable!
Make your wrapping part of your gift and use a scarf, hand towel, or t-shirt to wrap a gift. The art of fabric gift wrapping, or Furoshiki as it is called in Japan, has been around in centuries and is still really popular. So, if that favorite old fabric is to tattered to wear, don't toss it. Instead hold on to it those great textiles for a unique wrap on a special gift.
- Children's Artwork
If you have a child in your life that loves to color, this might be an excellent way not only to save paper but to get children involved in the gift giving.
If you still get a daily newspaper or even the occasional Sunday edition, use the leftover paper to make an elegantly wrapped gift with some cultural relevance. Again, you can dress this is with bows and ribbons to make it look well-designed.
- Christmas Cards
Christmas Cards are a great way to keep up with friends and family, but at the end of the year you have to do something with them, so why not turn them into a gift tag for the next year?
We also recommend saving as much wrapping paper and tissue as you can, if it’s not crumpled in order to fold and reuse. It goes without saying that you can save and reuse bows, ribbons, and paper gift bags as well! We hope you try some of these eco-friendly gift wrap ideas this year!
What are some of your favorite ways to eliminate holiday waste?