25 million tons of garbage. That’s how much more waste is thrown away between Thanksgiving and New Year’s compared to the rest of the year. So what can you do to lower the waste?
Well, with the holidays and that last-minute gift shopping spree that too often accompanies them approaching, we thought it’d be a good time to show you some of our favorite DIY, eco-friendly gift-wrapping ideas to cut back your trash. We hope these ideas will give you a little more zen and a little less panic when it comes to finding your presents for the holidays this year (and are great for birthdays too).
1. Use Scarves Or Decorative Kitchen Towels/Fabrics To Wrap Your Gifts
Using an old or thrifted scarf can often be a lifesaver when it comes to making your gift wrapping pretty on a budget. Not to mention, reusing something you already have or buying second-hand has a significant, positive impact on the environment. Plus, it makes for a cute little bonus gift, especially if you use a fancy folding method like furoshiki.
2. Upcycle An Old Jewelry Box Or Shipping Box To Present A Stylish, Classy Gift
Finding a use for the dozens of jewelry boxes you have lying around doesn’t sound so bad, especially if it makes for a fancy-looking, eco-friendly gift. Thus, instead of putting small gifts in plastic bags, try a jewelry box fastened with a ribbon you most-likely already have too (just note that if you buy a new ribbon that it is 100% recyclable like this one). If your gift isn’t small enough to fit in a jewelry box, try a shipping box instead. After all, having multiple shipping boxes has kind of become the new thing following lockdown.
And make sure to fill them with biodegradable packaging material and avoid packaging peanuts and bubble wrap which are both bad for the planet. If you choose to use tissue paper as a filler instead, find some made from recycled paper, readily available in most large retail stores.
3. Use A Mason Jar As Your Wrapping Paper
Mason jars are cute in of themselves but think about all the possibilities you have to make them even cuter. Just put your gift inside and DIY the outside to make your own ‘glass wrapping paper.’ You could paint them, fill them with some LED or solar-powered string lights if there is extra space inside around your gift, or add some of the fun stickers you have lying around to their perimeters. Plus, what could be better than giving someone wrapping paper that doubles as their new favorite artsy cup or plant holder.
4. Use Newspaper Or Sheet Music To Create A Cool, Vintage-Looking Gift
Newspapers and sheet music double as awesome sources for all your wrapping needs. Not only are they recyclable, but they are also a great way to make gifts more personalized. For instance, if the gift-receiver is a big Beethoven fan, then Beethoven’s 5th symphony will be the ideal choice of sheet music. But if the person is more of a pop fan, then sheet music from a One Direction song may suffice.
5. Put Your Gift In A Tote Or Reusable Bag You Are Comfortable Sacrificing
Totes are super trendy right now and often, we find ourselves collecting quite a few. So why not give some away and pack someone a convenient, easy to carry gift bag! Tote bags can be used for anything from packing groceries to packing school supplies, so they definitely won’t go to waste once your gift has been delivered.
6. Support Small Businesses And Their Wrapping Materials
Investing in smaller, perhaps local companies is always a good way to support small sellers that work hard to pursue their creative passions. By buying their custom-designed or hand made sustainable wrapping paper, you can be sure that you are buying from a transparent seller and receiving unique, quality wrapping supplies.
7. Use Plain Brown Postal Paper From Your Local Craft Store
Brown postal paper is an awesome eco-friendly option for the creative people out there who love drawing and customizing their own wrapping paper. It is cheap but still looks refined and expensive. You can even add some small pine branches to it from your tree if you have some to add that extra pop of color and beauty.
And if none of these eco-friendly wrapping alternatives call your name, then feel free to stick to regular wrapping paper as long as it adheres to the scrunch test. What is the scrunch test you may ask? Well, the scrunch test is this: if the paper doesn’t scrunch and is super shiny or metallic, it probably has a plastic film on it that makes it non-recyclable. So if you do encounter this type of paper, try to reuse it as much as possible. And if you’re stuck on what to put in these cool wrapping ideas, check out our all-inclusive gift guide.