According to the EPA waste increases by nearly 25% between Thanksgiving and New Years- accounting for a million tons per week of additional garbage. Let that sink in a little bit- one MILLION tons per week!!! Most of this is wrapping, bows, boxes, gift bags, etc. YIKES!!!!!!!!!
Unfortunately most gift wrap cannot be recycled- only a very small percentage can and it will be labeled as recyclable.
There are many great options for reducing waste this time of year:
* For gifts that you receive simply open them carefully enough to reuse the wrapping. If you prefer to not keep gift wrap you can post it to your local Freecycle, free section on Craiglist, or give it to non-profits that donate gifts.
* For gifts you are giving choose a reusable gift-wrap or non-conventional option.
– My personal favorite is fabric. Many companies are now manufacturing fabric gift bags, we also use pillow cases tied with pretty ribbons or just wrap items up in a piece of fabric. A web search will give you countless ideas. Furoshiki is the art of wrapping with cloth, it’s been common in Japan for quite some time and is gaining popularity here as well.
– Gift wrap implanted with seeds is another innovate option. The entire wrapping can be planted and dozens of plant varieties are available. I’ve received a few of these and they always grow lovely plants and flowers!
– Save old jars, cool boxes, and unique containers. The packaging can be a gift in and of itself if you get creative.
– Or skip wrapping all together and hide the gift somewhere for the receiver to find!!! You could turn it into a fun family tradition to hunt for your gifts every year.
We hope you’ll consider drastically reducing your waste from gift giving this year. Let us know in the comments below or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any other unique ways to reduce gift wrap waste!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Olivia lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband and 4 year old son. She enjoys spending time in the mountains, studying about essential oils, natural remedies and herbs, as well as upcycling/ DIY projects. Olivia’s family made the move last year towards becoming a Zero Waste household. They have gotten down to one bathroom sized trashcan a month of garbage but hope to be totally Zero Waste by the end of 2015.
Like this? Check out the rest of our Waste Less and Be Green in 2015 series for more tips!
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