When I was younger, my mom let me be in charge of wrapping all the presents because I LOVED wrapping presents. I remember taking books out of the library about creative ways to wrap gifts, how to use ribbons, how to make bows, etc. I loved making crisp folds with wrapping paper that had beautiful patterns, metallic accents, and fun textures. I would also never rip open my presents.
I would use scissors to carefully cut through the tape so that I could save all the fun wrapping paper to reuse, or to make crafts with. I still collect paper used to wrap my gifts (and my daughter’s gifts, let’s face it, she gets WAY more than I do these days) and try to reuse it. However I have stopped buying new wrapping paper altogether, as tempting as it is when there are such gorgeous and fun designs beckoning to me in the Christmas wrap sections of stores. Why have I decided to forego wrapping paper?
Most wrapping paper is not recyclable, so it just ends up cluttering landfills.
Any glossy, laminated, metallic wrapping paper isn’t recyclable, so putting it in the recycling just complicates the load of stuff that can actually be recycled. Just imagine the amount of wrapping paper your household has to throw out every Christmas – then think of how much garbage that is when multiplied by all the households in your city!
These are old Canadian statistics from the Regional District of Nanaimo, but still quite shocking:
In Canada the annual waste from gift-wrap and shopping bags equals about 545,000 tonnes.
If every family in Canada reduced its weekly waste during the holidays by just one kilogram, 34,000 tonnes of garbage would be eliminated.
If everyone in Canada wrapped just three gifts in reused paper or gift bags, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 hockey rinks.
According to an Ipsos Reid poll, however, Canadians are doing pretty good in terms of trying to be greener for the holidays, including bringing reusable bags when shopping, recycling Christmas trees, and using LED lights. Let’s make our holidays even greener!!
- reusable fabric gift wraps
- DIY no-sew fabric gift bags
- reusable jars and cans
- reusable boxes
- fair-trade and /or recycled wrapping paper
- old magazines, newspapers, calendars, or maps
- paper bags
- children’s art work
- wallpaper samples
- seed paper gift tags
- cotton or natural organza ribbon or twine (get some from Greenmunch!)
- DIY bows out of shopping bags
Personally I am using newsprint paper I have saved from online orders, and paper that my daughter has drawn on her art easel (super handy because it comes on a roll, so we just continue to roll it down as she uses it, and voila! Big roll of wrapping paper customized by her!). For decorative accents, I’m using ribbon and twine from Greenmunch (as shown in my photo). What I have includes:
- Bakers Twine by The Twinery (pink sorbet shown): 100% cotton, biodegradable, made in USA
- Cotton Ribbon by Cream City Ribbon (skinny red, chambray Christmas, printed Peace on Earth shown): biodegradable cotton ribbon that can be shredded and curled. Chlorine free water based dyes, and soy-based, non-toxic inks for ribbons requiring printing. (FYI – I have to say that I’m in love with this ribbon. It works as easily as other ribbon that would clog up a landfill, and in my opinion is more beautiful. I’m definitely making a switch for scrapbooking too!)
- Sinamay Mesh Ribbon by Distant Village (Amber Gold, Red, Apple Leaf shown): fair trade ribbon handmade with natural banana fibers in the Philippines. This ribbon reminds me of a wired organza ribbon because it can be molded to an extent. The natural fibers are a beautiful texture.
What green wrapping ideas will you be trying out this holiday season?
(Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. Opinions expressed are my own.)