In recent posts, I’ve covered how the holidays are especially tough on the environment. The over-reliance on Amazon, food waste and countless bins of glitter-smeared plastic decorations take their toll. One easy way to reduce your holiday footprint is to switch to Earth-friendly gift wrap.
According to TIME, a Sundale Research report found that American’s spent $8.14 billion on wrapping paper last year. The bad news is most wrapping paper – especially the laminated, shiny, and glittery stuff – isn’t easily recyclable (although TerraCycle will take it for a fee). The good news is that reusable and recyclable gift wrapping is trending, and manufacturers are taking notice.
If you are anything like me, wrapping presents is already about as easy as performing brain surgery. With that said, my goal is to identify the Earth-friendly options without making it any more difficult.
Recyclable gift wrap
As mentioned above, several gift wrapping manufacturers have responded to consumer demands for eco-friendly options. Wrappily stands out among the rest as it uses local newspaper presses (in Washington!) to print soy-based ink on recycled newsprint. The finished product is colorful, recycable and compostable. Better yet, it’s ships in plant-based PLA packaging that is certified biodegradable and compostable.
Chicago-based Paper Source has four Seattle/Bellevue location selling wrapping paper made out of crushed marble and limestone, known as their “Stone Paper.” The paper comes in many designs, is recyclable/reusable and makes up around one-third of the wrapping paper options.
However, as recycling is only one of the three R’s, and the least effective one, at that. If you want to avoid using anything new – and kudos if that’s the case – why not throw it back to your childhood and use old newspapers or paper grocery bags? Just take it easy with the Scotch tape or use plant-based Washi tape instead.
Gift wrap alternatives
Now if you’re really like me, you’ll avoid wrapping gifts at all costs – which is fine. Gift bags are reusable and require no folding, taping, or brainpower whatsoever. However, the tissue paper is not recyclable in most communities. Either leave with the bag, find a sustainable material to cover the gift, or forego it altogether.
Wrapping gifts in fabric – a Japanese art known as furoshiki – is a sustainable alternative to gift wrap. That could mean digging an old garment (a clean one, hopefully) out of the closet or heading to a thrift shop. In this HuffPost article, Kathryn Kellogg suggests using a tea towel or scarf to make the wrapping part of the gift.
Details can push a gift over the top and come at no cost to the environment. Instead of plastic ribbon to tie everything together, consider a plant-based twine like jute or hemp that can be composted. Burlap is made from jute as well, and makes a really nice bow.
Now, since I’m clearly getting out of my element, I’m going to let TheSorryGirls put an eco-friendly wrap on this post.