Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Simple Way to Green your Holiday Gift Giving

All of those packages under the tree, the menorah, or the kinara, wrapped up in colorful paper, are just that…wrapped in paper. According to Hotfact.com, during the time between Thanksgiving and New Years, Americans throw away about 25% more trash than they do during the rest of the year. This extra waste is estimated to create about five million tons of trash, with about four tons of that waste coming from wrapping paper and shopping bags.

Traditional paper gift wrapping is, as you know, a paper product. Soft wood trees are cut, milled, bleached, and dyed, forming what you see down the “wrapping” aisle at your favorite big box store. This process can adversely affect our environment unnecessarily, especially since there are alternatives that can be used instead of new paper gift wrapping.

So how can you help to decrease some of the waste associated with the holidays and help to green up the gift giving process? Reduce, Reuse and Recycle…your gift wrapping, that is.

Reduce – Rather than wrapping all of those little bundles with new paper wrappings, why not use reusable cloth bags. Wrapsacks are wonderful alternatives to traditional wrapping paper and they can be tracked online adding to the gift giving fun.

Reuse – If you do choose to use traditional wrapping paper, try saving and reusing that paper for another holiday or event. You might also try wrapping gifts with newspaper (the funnies might be fun) or letting the kids decorate brown paper bags from the grocery store and wrap your gifts with a little extra love.

Recycle – Be sure to have a recycling bag or bin handy to catch all of those paper wrappings and packaging to recycle. Check with your local recycling center to find out whether or not they accept traditional wrapping paper.

The EPA has a great list of ways to reduce holiday waste; everything from recycling trees to purchasing rechargeable batteries.

Please join me in reducing or eliminating the amount of new, traditional paper gift wrap that finds its way into our nation’s landfills by reducing, reusing, and recycling.


Libby said...

Good post! Thanks for the info, we will be more mindful to make sure all cardboard, and paper gets into recycling this year!

Libby said...

ps- I think another thing to be more green (and frugal) this year, is to think of good gifts that you can recycle. My Brother's son just got a Playstation 3, and Nathan never plays his PS2 anymore, so we are giving him all of Nathan's games to my brother's son as a gift, and the PS2 to our church for the youth room!