Christmas is approaching! For many this means decorated trees and festively wrapped presents sparkling in the tree lights. Unfortunately, however, this also means an enormous amount of shiny, non recyclable waste in landfills. That’s right, folks – the catch of the Christmas sparkle is that giftwrap, ribbons, bows, and most gift bags are non recyclable. So, what to do?
Fear not! There’s no need to give up the festivities. Here are five ways to have a green, earth-friendly Christmas.
1. Ditch the giftwrap. Instead of conventional giftwrap, use newspaper or brown, unwaxed paper (like what is used in brown paper bags). Tissue paper is okay and can be recycled, but is not the ideal choice since it’s made of already recycled paper and is difficult to recycle again. Or even better, use cardboard gift boxes. These are fairly easy to find and can be recycled if they’re a little flimsy, or reused if they’re a bit sturdier. You can also use scarves, but for those of us on a budget the scarf itself is already a gift, and using it as wrapping can get a little pricey. Other beautiful and budget friendly green alternatives are paper maps (not the glossy kind), especially for the travelers in the family, or even mason jars, depending on the size of the gift. The point is to think outside of the box – or in this case, outside of the giftwrap!
2. Ditch the ribbons. Ribbon is not recyclable either. Instead, consider using hemp cord or twine, or even paper raffia ribbon. You can find paper raffia in many different colors and it makes a rustic but tasteful addition to any gift. Or you can take a look at this tutorial on how to make your own colorful ribbon decoration out of recyclable paper.
3. Ditch the bows. Those beautiful, sparkly bows are made of ribbon and so, unfortunately, are also not recyclable. Some awesome alternatives are flowery herbs like lavender, or even some rosemary sprigs. Herbs are perfect for wrapping decorations because they dry very well and won’t fall apart if there is still a week or two before Christmas. You can also check out this tutorial that you can use to make your own bows out of recyclable paper.
4. Ditch the tape. Tape can be recycled as long as there’s not too much of it, but in larger quantities it can jam the machines that process paper for recycling. Instead, try to wrap gifts in such a way that you can use hemp cord or twine to tie it up, or use gift boxes instead that don’t need tape.
5. Ditch the disposables! This will always be what greenness and zero waste boils down to. Consider making or buying reusable, cloth gift bags and ribbon, or even make them out of burlap. If you do this, you’re giving them the gift you’ve wrapped, but you’re also helping them to go green and pass it on with the reusable bag.
I hope these are helpful! Again, every little bit counts. Even if you reduce your Christmas waste by half, you’re helping the planet. Have a beautiful week and have fun wrapping! 🙂