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You guessed it: wrapping all those presents!
Second only to traditional card stock Christmas cards, wrapping paper is the biggest waste of paper — and hence, trees — during the holidays. And wrapping paper is NOT (normally) recyclable.
Fear not, present wrapping lovers. There are some gift adorning options that blow the ever cursed wrapping paper out of the water.
Most Wrapping Paper Is NOT Recyclable
Yeah, I said it’s NOT recyclable.
It’s true that you can buy wrapping paper made from recycled products.
But most paper mills do not recycle the used wrapping paper.
RecycleNow.com has the reasons why:
- Wrapping paper is often dyed, laminated and/or contains non-paper additives such as gold and silver colored shapes, glitter, plastics etc which cannot be recycled;
- Some wrapping paper is very thin and contains few good quality fibers for recycling; and
- A lot of wrapping paper has sticky tape attached to it which makes it very difficult to recycle.
It’s important to note that some — although only a minority of — recycling centers will accept used wrapping paper. Be sure to check and see if yours does.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s explore some ways to save trees and get creative with our wrapping paper this year.
#1 – Reuse Old Catalogs
Ok, this one is definitely my favorite, creativity wise at least. Abmatic at Curbly.com has got your step-by-step instructions (with photos) of how to accomplish this feat. She says:
“I find that JCrew catalogs work well and have a large variety of colors represented. They also have entire pages devoted to the ever mesmerizing stacks of shirts (or sweaters, pants etc) in a rainbow of colors.”
Here’s an example of what she teaches you to do with one of those nice full page ads:
#2 – Use Various Scraps in Creative Ways
In that same vein, Wrap Art at Boakart.com has GREAT ideas on how to reuse any piece of scrap paper, tissue, fabric, ribbon, and any other material you can think of as a fantastic wrapping alternative!
I found Boakart via The Guardian.
#3 – Reuse Inexpensive, Festive Fabric
An article on Suite101’s Green Living site says:
“This year, why not try wrapping smaller gifts with fabric. There are thousands of Christmas fabrics available that can be cut with pinking shears (so they don’t ravel) and used to wrap smaller gifts. These decorative wraps can be used year after year. The average bolt of cotton fabric is 42″ to 45″ wide, and many seasonal fabrics are very reasonably priced.”
#4 – Have A Happy Holiday Present Hunt
Another idea is to do away with the packaging altogether this year.
Hide the presents around the house and have a Christmas present hunt.
I’m envisioning a highly competitive game emerging from this idea!
What are some creative and sustainable ideas you have for non-wrapping presents?
I think every little step toward living green is an awesome one… but eco-snobbery sucks! My goal is to help newbies learn the most important steps toward living green — individually and collectively. Personally, I strive to have as little impact as possible on Planet Earth while I'm here.