Gift wrapping is a tried-and-true tradition. When you care about keeping our natural environment healthy, the thought of plastic and waste can make the notion a bit daunting. Fear not because you can take an eco-friendlier approach. Not only is it better for the environment, it can also be a lot more affordable than a roll of expensive gift wrap and those pricey plastic bows and ribbons. If you want to keep the pretty packaging while reducing waste, we’ve got 5 ideas for you.
1) Out-of-the box thinking
First, try to repurpose cardboard boxes as gift boxes. Chances are, you have plenty of them delivered every week. Then, get creative. Look into water-based tempera paints and bring out your inner artist (or ask the children in your life) to decorate. Maybe tie a fun piece of fabric on or around it. Or you can purchase decorative gift boxes that are basically “already wrapped” as they’re beautifully printed – and durable enough to reuse for years. Keep your eyes peeled at the next gathering with a gift exchange. It’s likely you’ll find plenty of material for next year.
2) Second life
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with recycling a gift bag or reused wrapping paper. More use means less waste as they’re often not recyclable. Too late for this season? Just remember to gather wrapping paper, bows, and gift bags at the next gift exchange. That keeps it out of the trash and doing what it does best.
3) Cover up
Alternatives to wrapping paper can be sustainable choices. Use brown kraft paper, newspaper, or sheet music, which are recyclable and compostable. Tie them up with some jute string or paper ribbon instead of the plastic sort. You can even include a pinecone, cinnamon sticks, pine branches, and more instead of a bow. It definitely makes an artistic statement.
If it has to be brand new wrapping paper, choose something in bamboo. You can also find (or sew) little cloth bags made of unbleached linen or muslin that work like a charm. Or maybe repurpose some scraps, or those old jeans.
4) Sticky situation
Avoid plastic tape as there are more eco-friendly choices available. You can use Washi tape because it’s made from natural materials like bamboo or hemp. Get colorful or holiday-themed Washi tape. Whatever you use, be it paint, crayons, glue, or anything else, be sure it’s recyclable or biodegradable.
5) Contain yourself
Think mason jars, cookie tins, antique cigar and hat boxes, mugs, baskets. Not only are they unique and fun, but most are likely to be kept and used or reused (let them steal your ideas if it’s good for the planet). Your packaging can be as memorable as the gift you give when you let your imagination run wild. And don’t forget about plain old brown paper bags. You can jazz them up with some of the ideas we shared above.
Try these tips and the way your gifts look will be just as memorable as the gifts themselves. With these 5 tips, you can wrap smarter and give your love to the environment while you’re at it.
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