There is a lot of wastefulness that happens during the holidays. Between unsustainably and unethically made products, unrecyclable wrapping paper, and other lavish and wasteful traditions, it’s easy to create more trash than usual. On this list are some ideas for green gift wrap as well as some eco-friendly presents to wrap up.
Offset Your Waste
Around the holidays, it’s easy to fall into the trap of wasteful decisions or actions, even if you try your best to avoid them. If you end up having to pick up gift wrap or otherwise creating unavoidable waste, make sure to offset the negative impact you’re making. The Wrap With Care initiative is offering to plant a tree when you sign up for their email list, and they’ll send you tips and tricks for eco-friendly wrapping ideas.
Ditch the Bow
For any gift you’re giving, instead of buying a wasteful and overall useless bow, you should use sprigs from your Christmas tree or another evergreen tree. It’s a pretty touch that not only will spruce up your gift but adds a nice aroma as well. You can either cut little pieces off of your Christmas tree, or you can go to your local Christmas tree vendor and ask if you can take the pieces that have fallen off of the trees. You may get some odd looks, but your presents will look beautiful.
Another eco-friendly bow alternative is dried fruit. If you buy a spray of holly berries, you can use small sprigs of it in the same way as evergreen sprigs, adding them in ribbon or attaching them to the handles of gift bags. If you have the time, you can also slice up some oranges and bake them at a low temperature for a few hours to create dried orange slices that you can use as decorations as well as gift decor.
Reuse Jewelry Boxes
IF you’re gifting someone a piece of jewelry during the holidays, you can reuse an old jewelry box to give your gift. If the piece of jewelry comes in a box, you can dress it up with some reused wrapping supplies such as ribbon or recyclable supplies like craft paper.
If you’re buying someone diamonds, which are the hardest naturally occurring substance on earth with a 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, make sure you’re choosing the sustainable diamond option. Mined diamonds are not sustainable and oftentimes are harvested under unethical working conditions. Instead, opt for lab-created diamonds.
Gift Something That Doesn’t Need Wrapping
The best way to give eco-friendly wrapping is to simply not use any wrapping at all. For example, if someone in your life has been wanting to straighten their teeth and join the 20% of people who get braces each year that are over 18, you can give them that gift. You can tell them about their gift by writing them a card on recycled or biodegradable paper, or even seed paper, which can be planted to grow wildflowers. If you give them a gift you know they’ll use and have no wrapping paper, you’re creating as little waste as you possibly can.
Gift Something They Need
There are big differences between what we want and what we need. By getting someone a gift that they would have definitely purchased themselves, you could be helping them out significantly. For example, if someone is moving into a new home or apartment and needs a security system, gifting them the starting package could help them balance out the cost. 50% of intruders have revealed that even in unplanned burglaries, they would stop and leave if they noticed an alarm system. Therefore, getting a system could be extremely important. In addition, when you’re gifting something that someone will need, like a security system starter kit or another moving essential, you are saving from giving a gift that they’re never going to use that could end up becoming trash in the near future.
When you’re wrapping something awkward or bulky, a gift bag is a safe bet. However, instead of using a traditional one that has an unrecyclable plastic coating, you should use a plain brown paper bag. You can spruce it up with additions like a recycled ribbon or a splash of paint, and if your recipient doesn’t end up keeping it to reuse it, it won’t become waste.
Use What You Have
If you’re given a gift in an unrecyclable gift bag, you should keep it and use it for other gifts in the future. If you use it more than once, you’re extending the amount of time it’s spending not in a landfill.
You can also reuse things like newspaper, cool paper, magazine pages, or even your children’s drawings. You can use any paper as a wrapping paper with enough imagination, so think outside of the box to avoid creating waste.
If you want to use fabric to wrap your gifts, you can cut up old clothes that you were going to donate or use unused handkerchiefs or bandanas. There are tons of online tutorial for how to fold your fabric to create gorgeous wrapping for your presents, so take a look before you dive into cutting any fabric you want to use.
Use Tote Bags
If you don’t want to have to use a disposable bag, you can purchase an inexpensive tote bag that will fit your present in it, and it will add to your gift a little bit as well. This is a bit more expensive than a disposable bag, but your gift recipient can keep and reuse the bag in the future.
Although it’s easy to be wasteful at the holidays, trying to be conscious of your actions can be helpful in reducing the waste that you create. You can use recyclable, reused, or reusable materials to ensure that the gifts you’re giving aren’t having a negative impact on the environment.
How are you wrapping your gifts this year? Will you use any of these ideas? Let us know in the comments below!