According to the Clean Air Council, disposable wrapping paper and gift bags create nearly 4 million additional tons of garbage in the U.S. during the holiday season alone. Makes me feel dirty just thinking about it. So, how do we wrap responsibly?
The best way to keep things green and simple also happens to be thrifty: simply DIY … work with materials you already have around the house. I’m not kidding – I’ve been doing this for years, and I sometimes pull things from the recycle bin in order to re-use it as wrap.
- Glass jars. Jewelry boxes. Tins.
- Newspaper, magazines, comics, outdated road or subway maps, children’s artwork, brown paper bags, spare wall-paper, and pretty/ heavy stock store-provided shopping bags all can be reused, cut-up and transformed into great gift wrap.
- Extra large items can be wrapped in household linens: tablecloths, sheets, tea towels, bath towels, curtains, scarves and shawls, or extra fabric from your last sewing project.
- Reusable cloth bags. Just tie the handles together with some found ribbon or yarn.
- For the finishing touch on packages – forget the bows. Think outside the box and step outside your home: pretty pine cones in the yard, small branches with sweet colored berries, acorns and touches of greenery.
- A mini-ornament, spare buttons or lonely single earring can adorn a package and add a little sparkle.
For pretty and reusable fabric wrap – step away from the tape and scissors – instead, try:
- BOBO Wrap (photo at top of post; made in the USA; inspired by the ancient Korean tradition of wrapping with fabric, Bojagi)
- ewrapz.com holiday prints fabric gift wraps (photo: fabric with white ribbon, just above)
- fraps.com felt envelopes for cds, books, dvds & photo frames (photo above: felt envelopes with hearts)
For whatever reason, if you’re compelled to opt for shiny new wrapping paper make sure it’s made from recycled material … we like: shopECOsaurus.com, where everything is 50% off right now, (photo just above).
above (via Martha Stewart.com) If you need to give packages a little extra cushioning – forgo the extra tissue and Styrofoam – use natural materials like real peanuts, popcorn and evergreen.
Now that the gifts have been gathered, be sure to relax a little. Put on some tunes, have a sip of wine … start wrapping presents in novel, pretty, eco-conscious ways. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes in the gift-unwrapping experience. Imagine looking around the room once all the gifts have been opened and suddenly realizing how clean it is. No waste and discarded material headed for the landfills. It reminds me of how good it feels to shop with reusable bags at the grocery store … no crappy plastic bags to contend with after unpacking groceries. cheers!
Related: gift wrap the eco way – Furoshiki
Alternative Consumer featured in USA Today Guide to Green Living