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From our guest writer Lakshika in the USA
Avoid glossy decorated gift wraps
Gift wrapping is a simple way of making your present more attractive and pleasant to the person who receives it and has become a tradition across many cultures. Wrapping papers are in high demand during holiday season and often used just once and thrown away.
Have you ever thought about the negative impact of these wrapping papers on the environment? Millions of wrapping papers are consumed each year and most of them are not recycled – or cannot be recycled – and end up in landfill. Today’s action is about how to recycle gift wrap properly and to reduce the amount going to landfill.
Let’s think about how to be environmentally friendly and less wasteful when wrapping a gift.
Give it a second thought before you buy gift wrapping next time. Do you have any saved gift wrap at your home or office? Great! You can reuse it. So, why reuse your wrapping papers when it’s very cheap and easily available? It’s not only about the money we spend, it’s the environmental cost. When tons of wrapping papers are sent to landfilling each year, it does affect the environment significantly.
Even if you don’t have any saved wrapping paper, there are many alternatives you can find around your house or office as gift wraps. You can skip buying new ones and save some money too. It would be great if we can stop or reduce buying new wrapping paper each year and use sustainable alternatives instead.
Sustainable Gift Wrap Alternatives
- Save those brown papers which come as a packaging material to wrap your gifts next time
- Pictures from newspapers, magazines and calendars are great for wrapping small gift items
- Use fabrics – countries like Japan, Korea and China have their own traditional gift-wrapping methods using fabric
- Use gift bags when possible instead of wrapping the gifts; gift bags can be reused multiple time (Hey, this also saves the use of plastic sticky tape too … Ed)
- Instead of bows and ribbons, use dried flowers and leaves as decorative items
Next, let’s think about what we can do with the wrapping papers we get wrapped around our gifts.
First, we can unwrap gifts carefully and save wrappings to reuse next time. Save those bows and ribbons so you can reuse them when needed. If the paper is too damaged to be reused for gift wrapping, maybe we can use it for crafting purposes – kids will love these printed papers to use them in their crafts. You’ll find dozens of ideas once you start collecting them.
As the next step we can recycle wrapping papers. However, not all wrapping papers can be recycled. Foil, cellophane, wrapping papers with coating, glitter, ribbons, bows, etc. are not recyclable. Also, some wrapping papers are too thin, so that the fibres are too short to be made into new paper o card, and putting them into the recycling bin will do more harm than good.
We can perform The Scrunch Test to check whether a wrapping paper is recyclable or not. If you crinkle a paper and it stays as a tight ball, then it can be recycled, but if it tries to go back to its original shape, there’s a good chance it’s going to the landfill.
Pause for thought
Give it a second thought before you buy a gift wrapping paper next time. “Rethink” is the first step in the waste management hierarchy. Rethink the way you are currently making your choices – an eco-friendly, sustainable alternative is always around, and usually at no cost.