Little known fact: all those presents we exchange in December create about 25 million tons of extra waste, much of it from the gift wrapping and extra packaging we use. That’s about one million tons…per day. Bite down hard, mother nature.
Better known fact: most people rarely remember what the wrapping looked like even a few minutes after they open your gift.
As you think about your wrapping needs this year, spare a thought for the Earth as well. An extra million pounds of trash per day is not such a jolly thought, and there are so many other creative things you can do to wrap a present that won’t hurt our environment.
5 Things to Know About Common Wrapping Materials
Much of what is typically used is not recyclable because of plastic elements or other embellishments, like glitter or metallic materials. Many of the ribbons and bows we use are plastic or plastic coated, as are many of the gift bags we use to replace wrapping paper – although bags at least have a chance at being reused.
For some clever ideas, we recommend you visit PaperMart to see some eco-friendly wrapping options. There are many products made from natural materials that will look great on your gifts and have a minimal impact on the environment when they end up in the trash.
Top 3 Things to Avoid in Wrapping Paper
Opting for a simple paper that isn’t covered in glitter, metallic elements or overly glossy (a clue that it’s been lined with plastic) will allow it to be recycled. Other paper options are to use a simply kraft or parchment paper that you spruce up, or even colorful sections of newspaper that you already have in the house. Keep in mind that tissue paper cannot be recycled but is a good option to replace wrapping paper as well.
Give some thought to ‘wrapping’ in materials that can be reused – baskets, canvas or linen bags, reusable produce bags, and tins or jars for smaller items – all of these things offer an added element of joy for the recipient while making them healthy for the planet.
It’s tempting to put a lot of extravagant decorations on your gifts, but the nicest wrapping you can give someone this year is one that’s Earth-friendly and says you care about the planet as much as you care about them.