Along with joy and fun, the holiday season also brings with it a large amount of waste. Between Thanksgiving and New Year's, the United States produces 6 million tons of trash in addition to the average amount of waste generated by Americans. One of the largest contributors to all of that extra trash is gift giving, which creates a huge amount of paper waste.
To make your holidays a little greener, here are some ways to reduce gift wrap waste and decrease the size of your eco footprint during the holiday season.
- Give gifts that don't require wrapping. When you buy gift cards or tickets to sporting, theater and music events, you can give your gift in a recycled paper greeting card. Also, consider giving gifts in open baskets, which can be reused rather than thrown away.
- Wrap your gift in a gift! Use scarves, dish towels, socks and other inexpensive cloth items to wrap your gifts, and you'll be giving your friends and family two gifts at once.
- Stuff stockings. For your family gift exchange this year, recommend that everyone purchase stocking stuffers and leave them unwrapped, using only a gift tag or piece of scrap paper as a tag. Then, you can hang your stockings when you gather for the holidays, fill them and enjoy the fun of discovering what’s stuffed inside.
- Use nontraditional wrapping paper. Kraft paper, newsprint, used tissue paper, cloth scraps and other items can all make unique homemade wrapping paper.
- Purchase wrapping paper made from recycled paper and seed paper gift tags. If you must buy wrapping supplies this year, opt for greener choices.
- Don't throw away wrapping paper scraps. Use this neat pattern to turn the scraps into a bow.
- Open carefully.
If you open up your gifts gingerly, you can often save the wrapping paper to
use next year.