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December 13, 2019 4 min read
The signal of December is a special time of year when holiday hymns are hymning, the warmth of family & friends, and endless gift-giving to all. We eagerly shop for our loved ones at the speed of light both in-store and online, searching guides continuously for the best gift possible. As the holidays continue to ramp up, another avenue of concern opens up, one that we should be wary of.
An article from The Globe and Mail estimates Canadians send around 540,000 tonnes of wrapping paper & bags to the landfill, which we can only imagine will rise as online shopping, lack of awareness, and the current prolonged recycling crisis is yet to be answered.
On top of this, Canada also produces more garbage per capita than any other country on earth. We as Canadians may believe that we are leading in green alternatives in the world, but is seemingly not the case. Wishfully, our sustainable gift wrapping ideas will inspire you to think & choose gifts not just for that special someone, but with the environment in mind too.
Start with choosing a base package for your gifts is a great way to plan out how to better reduce waste this season. Use boxes from cereals, shoes, and others that you've collected throughout the year. You can hide these perfectly reusable boxes in sustainable gift wrapping options and still give a gift with Christmas spirit. Got multiple knick-knacks for everyone? Empty tins, both big & small are wonderful ideas as your base package as they often come in squares, rectangles, and circles to fit various gifts. If you've noticed, many stores have encouraged using totes as the brands shopping bags, which is another fantastic reusable base packaging for gifts that can be utilized by the person receiving the wonderful present.
Alternatively, if you're hosting for parties & events where giving out multiple gifts is necessary, choosing paper bags is a great biodegradable option and relatively easy to organize during the busy season. They are cost-effective and often used as bags by many grocery stores. Cut the paper bags into smaller pieces before tossing into the compost. Another excellent and easily obtained gift package alternative is using mason jars. These clear, air-tight sealed containers are not just used for sipping on your holiday eggnog, but is also presentable, able to hold candy or packed with ingredients to make the perfect winter s'mores.
A large amount of holiday gift wrappings sold in stores come in all sorts of finishes and decor that contaminate the paper, becoming non-recyclable and adding to the landfill. To avoid this possibility, a tried & true option that is now often the best alternative to traditional gift wrapping is kraft paper. Use the classic brown paper considering that kraft paper is unbleached and is completely biodegradable.
Of course, nothing beats a visually stunning presentation of your gifts on Christmas. Using papers with text & visuals in new styles when wrapping your gifts is a perfect way to show your creative finesse while being sustainable. Repurposing outdated magazines, calendars, and newspapers is a great way to use these otherwise obsolete images to good use, again! An advertisement image or full-bodied text can be dressed in some holiday touches and bring new life to the gift. These materials quietly and quickly accumulate at work or our homes, so shortage shouldn't be a problem. If you've found yourself with excess papers, use as gift tissue-paper by crumpling or shredding into strips.
Now for the final touches to your gifts. If you're worried newspapers or craft paper alone will look uninspiring or the best it could be, utilizing nature will not only make the gift have a chic finish, but add a natural scent, especially with fallen sprigs and pinecones. Fortunately, you don't have to venture far into the woods to find sprigs, twigs, branches, and pinecones to naturally decorate your gifts. You can become really creative with this approach, mixing natural materials and holiday colours.
One tip to help declutter a bit, using ornaments you no longer need is a perfect festive touch to add on your gift wrapping this year. Secure ornaments with string twine or natural cloth ribbon like cotton or silk that can be used timelessly. Ensure you walk right past the ribbon aisle, many of the shiny synthetic ribbons get tangled and are problematic to the recycling equipment, which would be sent directly into landfills.
Perfectly said by sustainable blog site Ecocult - "Gift wrapping presents a challenge much like wanting to dress fashionably." The impact of the environment caused by irresponsible-fashion is unprecedented, which can also be said about during this time of year when the mindfulness of the environment gets pushed down to the bottom of the holiday priority list. Finding various ways to sustainable alternatives doesn't have to end with gift wrapping. Purchasing or obtaining your parcel in-store helps reduce your carbon footprint or choosing to use low-energy LED Christmas lights for your decorations are other great options.
The move to sustainable options shouldn't be taken lightly. As well-educated and considerate individuals who are now shaping the world, we should be constantly looking for innovative ways to reduce, reuse, & recycle products. And what better way to start than with the season of giving?