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Green Tips: Holiday Gift Wrapping

Green Tips | December 14, 2022

The period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is full of holiday cheer, but it also marks the time when we generate the most waste: 25% more than during any other time of the year. Unsurprisingly, much of this waste comes from gift wrapping. With just a little extra thought, you can help make a huge impact in reducing waste. Check out this week’s Green Tips to learn how to gift wrap the eco way!

Simple is Better

One easy way to cut down on waste is to avoid over-wrapping your gifts. Your recipient will appreciate simply wrapped gifts just as much as intricately wrapped ones; the gift itself doesn’t change, after all. Here are a few tips:

  • Ditch the bows and ribbons.
  • Avoid using metallic and foil wrapping paper, as these cannot be recycled. 
  • Address the gift (i.e. To: Sally / From: Doug) directly on the packaging instead of using a sticker or name tag.

Upcycling is Okay

Rather than buy new wrapping materials, you can make your own by upcycling other items which would otherwise go to waste. The best part about these wrapping materials is that they cost you nothing!

  • Read the newspaper? Why not give it a second life as wrapping paper! It looks especially festive when the paper is colored in. Recruit a youngin’ to help!
  • Decorate paper bags from stores or deliveries. Better yet, use this DIY stamp roller.
  • An old shipping or shoe box can be a great way to package a gift.
  • Use an old sweater to wrap a wine bottle.
  • Make tins from old paint cans.
  • Upcycle empty candle containers by removing the wax. You can then glue unused wrapping paper to their sides, creating a festive jar. Great for holiday cookies!
  • Reuse wrapping paper. From envelopes to shipping insulation, the potential uses are endless.

Consider Wrapping Paper Alternatives

Wrapping paper is inherently wasteful. Most of the time it gets ripped through and discarded. However, there are many alternatives that can be used over and over again.

  • Package gifts in paper bags stuffed with tissue paper. These materials can be reused to wrap other gifts later.
  • Use the manufacturer’s packaging. Did your package ship in a box? Use it! Did you buy your gift in person? Don’t be afraid to use the retailer’s bag! You can even decorate the box or bag yourself for some heartfelt homemade gift packaging.
  • Replace that bow with a fallen conifer branch or pinecone.

If none of these ideas work for you, get creative! Any homemade gift wrap will be appreciated as thoughtful, and don’t be afraid to tell the recipients of your gifts why your gift wrap is different and how they can cut down on the waste.

Thank you for reading this week’s Green Tips! We hope you have a safe and happy holiday season!


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