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Let's wrap it up!

As we gear up for the holidays, we can add to the joy of the season (or at least the joy of the earth) by thinking green!

As this article points out, Americans throw away 25% more trash from Thanksgiving to New Year’s than any other time of the year, partly due to all of the wrapping paper used during the holidays. There are a number of different ways to be more environmentally friendly when wrapping gifts that don’t have to diminish the aesthetics or function of covering a present.

I remember that most of the gifts I gave and received when I was growing up were wrapped in the Sunday comics. That was a great form of reuse and the presents looked appealing. Of course, very few people get newspapers in print anymore, so that is not as viable of an option for most people. For those who do receive print newspapers, you can still use the traditional black and white newsprint to cover a gift (or if you got the December 8 New York Times mentioned in the linked article, you can use the special insert for gifts).

Here are a few other suggestions for gift wrap, many of which can be used multiple times:

  • Brown paper bags (tied up with string!)

  • Tins, cans, jars

  • Baskets

  • Gift bags

  • Old maps

  • Tissue paper

  • Old calendar pages

  • Knot-wraps – very cool!

If you must use wrapping paper, then try to dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way. Some townships will take it as part of their mixed paper recycling. I have taken to shredding it and using it in my bad compost.

This small change in how you wrap gifts can have an outsized impact. Holiday gifts, or gifts for any occasion, can be easily wrapped in a more environmentally friendly way.

As a final note, take a look at the following card that was given to attendees of a Harry Potter-themed baby shower. Very creative!

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