Christmas is one of the most wasteful time of year. From wrapping paper to ribbons, an immense amount of waste is created each year during the holidays. In the US alone, an average of 25 million tons of garbage is thrown away from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, which is an extra 25% more trash than any other time of year. Thankfully there are many beautiful and eco-friendly alternatives for wrapping up your Christmas gifts this year.
“Zero Waste Canada, a Vancouver-based advocacy group, estimates each Canadian tosses about 50 kilograms of garbage over the holidays, 25 per cent more than the rest of the year, thanks to the purchase of 3,000 tonnes of foil, 2.6 billion Christmas cards and six millions rolls of tape. Altogether, 540,000 tonnes of wrapping paper and gift bags are thrown out each year.” https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/12/28/canadians-will-throw-out-540000-tonnes-of-wrapping-paper-and-gift-bags-this-christmas-season.html
Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth, and additionally a style of gift wrapping. It can be used to wrap gifts of any size and shape. A variety of techniques and designs are used to make every gift unique. The wrap itself can be incorporated into the gift, such as a baby blanket for a baby gift, or a tea towel for a kitchen gift. Check out these tips and techniques: https://blog.spoonflower.com/2019/11/6-ways-to-wrap-a-gift-with-furoshiki/
See the video below for instructions.
A recyclable, on-hand gift wrap could be newspaper. Use the comic section of the newspaper to give your gift some character and colour, or use the traditional black and white print for a clean, simple appearance. It is great for wrapping gifts last minute while travelling or to give a second life to the newspaper in the recycle bin! Other on-hand wrapping options could include magazines or old books.
One of my favourite ways to wrap gifts is to use maps. We tend to grab maps when travelling, so we usually have a variety on hand. Maps are great for wrapping gifts for those who like to travel. You can find maps in old magazines, second-hand stores, or in National Geographic books.
Paper Grocery Bags
Another great way to wrap gifts is by using paper grocery bags. Whether the paper bag is crinkled or folded, it will give your gift a little texture. If there are any markings or logos on the bags, you can turn them inside out, or cover them with decorations. This gives those paper bags a second life!
Make the wrapping part of the present by using a dish towel or similar for your gift wrapping. Dish towels, pillowcases, a scarf, even a sheet for a large gift can be used instead of paper.
Whenever you are given a gift and it is wrapped in wrapping paper, a gift bag, or tissue, carefully unwrap it and fold it up to be reused. Encourage your friends to do the same, as it will save money and the planet; and what’s better than those two things? A majority of wrapping paper and bags are not recyclable due to the foil and/or microplastic that are embedded in the paper. Using these to their fullest will eliminate large amounts of waste from the landfill each year.
Ties and Embellishments
Try to keep your tape to a minimum by using a natural string or twine to wrap up your gifts. If tape is used, be sure to remove it from the paper before recycling. Decorate your wrapped gifts with branches from trees, pinecones or dried oranges for a lovely natural touch. Using sprigs of herbs or cinnamon sticks can bring an aroma to your gifts, and a holiday feeling!
How will you be wrapping your gifts this year?