It’s A Wrap – Reducing Gift Wrap Waste

Christmas morning:  few things in life are more joyous! Who else remembers frantically racing down the stairs, eager to tear open the pristinely wrapped packages, shiny and tempting, underneath the tree?

But as you might imagine, there’s a downside to the tantalizing ribbons, bows, and gift-wrap. Did you know that Americans generate an additional five million tons of waste during the holidays? Much of this consists of wrapping paper.

Thankfully, there are steps we can all take to keep the holiday season a bit more carbon neutral when it comes to gift-wrap.

Resist the urge to tear: Teach your children a lesson in reducing their carbon footprint and show them how to carefully preserve package wrapping for re-use next year.

- Use gift bags: Cloth gift bags, especially, can be used year after year for a variety of gift giving occasions!

- Find green alternatives to wrapping paper: Online, there are dozens of DIY arts and crafts sites and suggestions for creative, eco-friendly alternatives to wrapping paper. Used newspapers and magazines, sheet music, fabric, construction paper and other materials you’ve got lying around the house can make lovely alternatives to traditional gift wrap, and they help reduce carbon emissions, too!

- Don’t throw wrapping paper in the fire: Unfortunately, many of the chemicals and additives that make wrapping paper sparkly and glittery are harmful when burned/inhaled. Never dispose of wrapping paper by burning it.

- Purchase recyclable wrapping paper: Many forms of gift-wrap include lamination/dyes that cannot be recycled. Be sure to purchase wrapping paper that is marked as recyclable, or made from recycled materials, and ask your local waste management company whether or not they accept wrapping paper in the recycling bin.

There’s no need to sacrifice beauty for carbon neutrality! With a little planning and creativity, holiday gift giving can be just as green as it is glitzy.



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