Did you know that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans produce 25% more trash than usual? That’s about one million extra tons of garbage each week!
All that wrapping paper, glitter, ribbons… which have an average lifetime of… 60 seconds? Give or take!
$12 billion worth of packing material is spent every holiday season and the amount of ribbon disposed is enough to wrap the planet (exactly 38,000 miles). We hope this is not ending up in the ocean getting turtles and fishes wrapped after all. What a gift!
Unfortunately, most gift wrapping, ribbons and tapes are not recyclable or reusable. Many reasons make these festive packing items not suitable for recycling: the thickness, the pigments and colors, the metallic, plastic or glittery layer… A “glitter ban” is even in discussion in the US and 3 big retailers in the UK are banning glitter from their stores this year. See any similarity between glitter and planktons? You got it!
This year, let’s try and do better. It’s been a year of learning for all of us. If stuck at home with the kids, try to make it a children project – or maybe a family tradition – and have fun. If stuck home without children, we got your back too!
So here is a list of curated recommendations on how to keep the joy without the environmental cost. For your convenience, we ranked by difficulty level 😉
- First and foremost (the easiest one): no packaging or wrapper.
- Reuse gift bags you hopefully saved from last year (or birthday).
- Paper box (prefer solid color and no glitter/metallic layering).
- Use brown paper as a wrapper and decorate with natural fibers (or reuse ribbons you have at home) and plants, dried fruits, herbs, cinnamon or anything you would use to ornament a Christmas tree – that’s our favorite!
- Use old newspaper and/or magazine cutouts to wrap up shoe boxes.
- Use fabric to wrap your presents and make itself a gift: search for furoshiki online for ideas and use a tea towel or a scarf.
- Got sewing talents? There are plenty of tutorials online on how to make gift bags out of sweaters or socks.
- Make a knitted bag.
- Tape alternative: instead of plastic tape, use washi tape. It’s fun, cute, made from natural fibers and can be recycled with brown paper.
- Tag: for an eye-catching gift tag, cut off the front of any holiday cards you received from random people, like your dentist or your financial advisor (ok, or your friend in the previous year). The card’s decorative front will spruce up your gift, and you can write the recipient’s name on the blank side.