I truly love the holidays. However, there is one aspect of the holiday season that is truly sickening to me – stepping out the front door on the trash collection day immediately following Christmas and seeing so much waste sitting on the curb waiting to go to the landfill. According to the Recycler’s Handbook, approximately 50% of America’s paper is used to wrap and decorate gifts. Further, it is also estimated that between Thanksgiving and New Years’ Day each year, the average household increases the amount of waste generated by about 25%, and much of this is related to gift-giving.
If you are looking for a way to make a difference this holiday season, start a trend in your family and circle of friends with eco-friendly gift wrapping. What starts with you this year could very well be picked up by others you know next year, and this could get the ball rolling in a tremendous reduction of waste!
Before you get to the wrapping stage and even before you shell out cash to buy gifts, spend some time considering the packaging of the items you are buying. If you are debating between buying a product that is wrapped in a box, covered in plastic, wrapped in styrofoam, or something else of the sort versus a package that is package-free or has limited packaging, make the eco-friendly choice of opting for the item that has the least packaging.
Then consider the many options you have available for wrapping your gifts. Everyone loves to receive those pretty packages with glitzy bows and fancy ribbons, but few people like to see trash bag after trash bag filling the room after everyone has opened their gifts. Some people do re-use wrapping paper, but more people re-use gift bags. You can find an amazing selection of holiday gift bags through www.pristineplanet.com. Options available include bags made of entirely recycled paper and wood products, as well as organic cloth bags. Both options can be used over and over again each year. Not only do these bags cut down on the paper waste, but it also save you money on tape, ribbons, and bows, too!
If you do need to use wrapping paper, you do have some green options. First, consider buying recycled wrapping paper. You can check out the great designs at www.endoprint.com, which offers a wonderful selection of holiday wrapping paper that is made from 100% recycled paper and uses soy-based inks. There are also other great websites that like www.earthloven.com and others that offer a festive selection, so if you aren’t happy with the prints at one online retailer, check around for the many others that offer recycled wrapping paper. In addition, you can also check your local stores for their selection. More and more stores are offering recycled paper as an option.
Equally as important as selecting the right wrapping for your gifts is what you do with the wrapping after the gifts have been opened. By all means, save your gift bags and use these for years to come. If you are using recycled wrapping paper, you can try to save the pieces you can to be reused again later, or you can recycle them.
You can absolutely feel even better about giving your loved ones gifts they will treasure this year when you take time to select eco-friendly wrapping, but you will feel even better when you take the time to mention your eco-friendly wrapping method to friends and family, too. When you talk about the little green changes you are making in your life to friends and family, you will find that they, too, will gradually make changes in their lives. And maybe next year, you may just be opening a few gifts yourself that have been wrapped in an eco-friendly way!