’Tis the season for gifting! The holidays are usually the best time to give gifts to your loved ones, so it makes sense that colorful wrapping paper, shiny ribbons, and sparkling bows are staples for the season. But it’s easy to get caught up in the fun of gifting and forget about the environment. Did you know that Americans throw away 25% more trash during the holiday season compared to any other time of the year? That waste equals about 25 million tons of garbage, or about an extra 1 million tons per week! Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can make your gifting a littler greener this year. Here are a few environmentally friendly gift wrap ideas.
- Reuse wrapping paper.
We know the little kid in you loves to tear open presents in joyful anticipation for what’s inside. But if you carefully open your presents, you can reuse the wrapping paper and cut back on waste and also costs. This works best with large presents; the wrapping paper will have fewer creases and you can use it to wrap smaller items. You can even use wrapping paper not specific to the season as well; if the pattern doesn’t fit, flip it over and use the white side of the wrapping, decorating it with a colored ribbon or bow.
- Save your ribbons and bows.
Make sure you put down the scissors and untie the ribbons around your presents. Fabric ribbons work the best because they do not crease as easily, and they tie/untie well. Bows can be reused too; just add one or two pieces of tape and attach to your gift.
- Get creative with your paper choices.
Instead of the usual gift wrap, try using recycled brown kraft paper, paper bags, maps, old calendars, or newspaper. Chances are you either already have these around the house or they’re a fraction of the price of regular wrapping paper. The great thing is that these different paper choices can give your gifts a simpler, less common aesthetic that people love (brown paper and twine are a classic combination).
- Repurpose your shipping boxes.
A lot of people shop online for convenience, but it’s also great because you can use the shipping boxes as gift boxes. Instead of throwing those shipping boxes in the recycling bin, try repurposing them to wrap irregularly shaped gifts in. Not only are you truly “recycling” but you’re making life a little easier by using an easy-to-wrap box!
- Invest in reusable gift bags.
Much like the bags you use for grocery shopping, getting some reusable gift bags will cut down on waste because your gift recipient can use it again. It also helps others get into the habit of gifting green when you give them something in a reusable bag.
- Try an eco-friendly tape.
This one is less obvious but just as important! Most of the tape that is typically used for wrapping gifts is plastic, and paper with plastic on it can’t be recycled. Instead, try an eco-friendly paper tape; it pairs well with some of the paper alternatives above and it’s recyclable.
This season is a great time to start showing the environment the same love you show your friends and family. Try a few of these green gifting ideas and make it a new tradition.