The Winter holidays are upon us. In addition to the multitude of gifts that people exchange during this time of year, there is generally an enormous amount of gift wrap and trimmings to go along with them. Unfortunately, much of this gift wrap simply ends up in a landfill after the recipient opens the gift.
While everyone loves beautiful packages, here are some ways to make your gift-giving more environmentally friendly:
- Upcycle kids’ artwork to use as wrapping paper. My kids make art on an almost daily basis. As a result, we end up with far more artwork than we can display around our house. One of the ways we use these products of their creativity is to wrap gifts. This takes care of two issues. First, it gives you beautiful, homemade wrapping paper. Second, it provides a use for the art that you don’t plan to save.
- Use paper you already have to wrap items. Magazine pages are frequently bright and colorful, and make great wrapping paper for small gifts (or combine pages together to wrap bigger items). Newspapers can also be used as gift wrap; the colored comic pages can be particularly cheerful. Old posters, maps, blueprints, or calendars also work well. Finally, upcycled paper bags make great packaging for gifts. This works especially well for gifts you are sending via the mail, as they’re thick and sturdy enough to protect your gift.
- Save and reuse gift wrap from prior years. If you’re a careful package opener, there is no reason not to reuse the paper you’ve carefully removed. Use it again instead of sending it off to the recycle bin. You can similarly reuse gift bags.
- Give a gift in a cloth gift bag that can be reused for years to come.
- Fabric, bandanas, scarves, and even dish towels make for fun and creative wrapping. Many of these objects can be a lovely, usable part of your gift.
- You can also reuse ribbons, or use compostable materials (such as a sprig of evergreen) to decorate the tops of packages. These natural insect ornaments would make great package toppers.
The holidays don’t have to mean lots of extra garbage (or the extra shopping trip and expense of buying wrapping paper). Even a few packages wrapped in an eco-friendly manner can make a difference.
Do you have a suggestion for making gift-wrapping more environmentally sustainable?