The gift-giving season is upon us! Did you know Americans generate roughly 4 million tons of gift wrap and shopping bag waste every year over the holidays? That averages out to 2 pounds each! Help make this holiday season more sustainable by trying some of these gift wrap tips…
1. Reuse gift bags – gift bags are much easier to keep and reuse each year versus wrapping paper, which generally gets ripped up and crumpled in the process.
2. Skip the tape – whatever wrapping material you use, try to tie it up with a reusable or recyclable ribbon instead of taping everything together. A lot of tape brands are petroleum-based and not recyclable. It might seem insignificant, but during the holiday season, all that tape can add up!
3. Recycle newspaper – if you happen to have some newspaper at home or at work, reuse it! It makes for a sweet, vintage-looking package. The classic pattern pairs perfectly with twine, and you can pull out the comics for a colorful package for the kids.
4. Use brown bags from the grocery store – dismantle those paper bags and give them a second life as classic-looking wrapping paper. If you are artistic, you can use white paint or white-out and decorate the wrapping paper yourself!
5. Raid the recycling bin – there are dozens of paper products in your home that would make beautiful gift wrap. Try repurposing all those holiday catalogs and magazines that you have received or the road map you haven’t used since the ’90s. Last year’s golden retriever calendar could be the highlight of this year’s gift wrap!
6. Repurpose cloth – find a scarf or an old t-shirt or towel to wrap your gifts in. The Japanese are fond of this method and even have a word for it: Furoshiki. There are dozens of different methods for packages of all shapes and sizes. Check them out here.
7. Try a bow alternative – reusable fabric bows are a lovely green alternative to paper bows, but some of the best alternatives are in your backyard. Try grabbing a pine cone or a few leaves for wintry decorations. Check the kitchen, as well. A sprig of rosemary, lavender, or another herb makes a great gift topper. It will smell amazing and look more sophisticated than a giant bow.
8. Make a reusable gift tag – reusable gift tags are the gift that really keeps on giving. You can use small chalkboards as shown below. Personalized key chains make perfect tags that can be used for birthdays, holidays, and special occasions year after year, as well.
9. Give twice – who doesn’t love a gift within a gift? Put gardening supplies in a ceramic planter, cooking materials in a pot, or use a jump rope as ribbon on a child’s gift. If you’re still looking for a gift for the sustainability enthusiast, the gift wrap can be the gift itself! Many companies like Living Ethos sell reusable cloth bags for every occasion.