No matter what holiday you are celebrating this season, gifting is in full swing. And because of that, wrapping is in full swing! Whether you're wrapping all your gifts, or using pre-done gift boxes and gift bags, fun presents are being covered and concealed to keep the surprises hidden. In fact, Americans spend around $12 billion in gift wrapping items (wrapping paper, boxes, bags, ribbons, etc.) during the holiday season. But, this has some pretty serious consequences for our environment.
A majority of the decorative gift wrap that most of us find appealing cannot be recycled, even though it may be paper or plastic. This includes foil, glitter, shiny or glossy wrapping paper, ribbons with sheen, and anything of the like. After the present is unwrapped, the vessel that it came in is entirely forgotten. Then, all of these materials get tossed and sent to landfills. This increases the amount of methane released into the environment as it sits in the landfill to "decompose." (Also known as polluting our air, water, and ground while taking hundreds, if not thousands, of years to rot.) During the holiday season, the US throws away 25% more waste than any other time of year. This accounts for around 25 million tons of garbage, that we can help to reduce if taking the right measures!
If you are going to be wrapping your presents in paper, use paper that is definitely recyclable. This includes old grocery bags, newspapers, and brown Kraft paper. And, rather than using tape, use twine to secure closure of the package. If paper is not your style, try out these alternative gift wrapping ideas:
- Boxes & Tins! Keep those old cookie tins or tea boxes for upcycling into a gift container.
- Cloth! With sustainable materials such as recycled poly and organic cotton, as well as fun, festive patterns, wrapping gifts in cloth is an eco-friendly process.
- Tote Bags! Do you have too many tote bags that you don't know what to do with? (Or that you don't use anymore?) Turn them into a gift bag, and maybe the recipient will reuse the tote for their own purposes.