An Eco-Friendly Christmas with Eco-Friendly Packaging
It’s finally “the most wonderful time of the year.” Unfortunately, this time of year isn’t the environment’s most wonderful time of the year. According to Earth911.com, the wrapping paper industry accounts for $2.6 billion every year in retail sales, and you can bet that at least half of that is made over the Christmas holiday season. And that doesn’t account for all the paper used inside boxes and bags!
Luckily, there are some things that you can do to lessen your environmental impact this year.
Alternative Wrapping Paper
Beyond the usual alternative wrapping paper, such as paper bags, newspaper, and old magazines, there are even more creative ways to wrap a gift without using wrapping paper. If you have any old maps laying around, they’re sure to be a conversation piece when used as wrapping paper. Outdated calendars and old sheet music or music book paper will also give packages a snazzy look.
Another alternative to wrapping paper is cloth. Craft stores often have pieces of cloth for sale at low prices, after they’ve already been cut. This cloth can be kept by your gift recipient, and used for whatever he or she pleases! You can also use reusable cloth totes. It’s like getting a bonus gift on the outside of the package!
Another alternative to gift wrap is Geami GreenWrap. When paired with any color of biodegradable or recyclable tissue paper, Geami will not only give a gift a unique look, but also make it all recyclable and eco-friendly. Or, you can keep it after its been ripped off for all your inside-the-box packaging needs!
Here are some more alternative wrapping paper ideas: http://earth911.com/news/2011/12/21/eco-friendly-gift-wrapping-ideas/
Recyclable/Reusable Inside the Box Packaging
What you use to stuff the inside of the box or bag is just as important for the environment as what’s on the outside. Geami GreenWrap is also a great material for wrapping items inside the box or bag, as are old newspapers or magazines.
If you’re looking for a creative way to line the inside of your gift box, try using Christmas hand towels, available for pretty cheap at many major and smaller retailers. It’s a bonus gift for the recipient! Or, if you’re giving an item of clothing, use that clothing to wrap any smaller items inside the box or bag. If your box won’t be traveling much, you can even use fake flowers. They’ll add the right amount of cushion for something inside a box, and can be used around the house afterwards.
Another great idea for inside the box or bag wrapping is to save any wrapping paper from last year, rather than throw it out. It’s perfect for protecting or wrapping things inside a box or bag, and Christmas-themed paper will fit the season.
Other Eco-Friendly Christmas Practices
To further reduce your footprint this year, give less packages. That doesn’t mean you have to give less gifts – just conglomerate a couple into one package, instead of packaging them separately. If wrapping paper must be used, save the paper rolls inside to reuse (here are some ideas). Save the wrapping paper itself after it’s been torn off to use inside boxes and bags next year.
You can also try carpooling to your relative’s house. Christmas is a huge traveling holiday. Everyone wants to be home for the holidays! That means a lot of air and road traffic. By reducing the amount of vehicles on the road by at least one, you can reduce your carbon footprint. Also, remember to hand out Christmas dinner leftovers in reusable or recyclable containers for all your relatives and friends.
Image Credit: Flickr