The holidays are a great time to connect with family and friends! The only downside of the holidays (at least for me) is all of the wasteful packaging in new gifts, toys and wrapping, along with tissue papers and plastic bags before the holidays and during boxing week.

In this week’s feature from “Iona’s Guide to a Green Holiday in Metro Vancouver”, we will review tips on how to minimize waste, recycle and be as green as we can be when it comes to gift wrapping:

Minimizing packaging

Reusable cloth drawstring bags to wrap gifts.Choose wrapping paper made using fibers such as hemp, or paper using recycled content.

  • Avoid Buying Glossy Foil or Metallic Wrapping Paper – You can do a beautiful wrapping job for your gifts without having to use metallic wrapping paper. This kind of ‘paper’ is difficult to recycle and cannot be used as mulch since there are heavy metals in the foil paper. Foil gift wrap is also harder to reuse, since it wrinkles and creases easily when the gift is being unwrapped.
  • Reuse Gift Wrap Where Possible – Large wrapped presents usually have large enough flat sections to be reused for wrapping smaller gifts. If you open large gift packages with care, the paper can be set aside for reuse for other gift-giving occasions. Fancy ribbons and bows, of course, can be stored in a box until next year when you’ll appreciate having them around and not having to buy new ones.
Use Tape Sparingly, Or Not at All

If you’re going to use ribbon to finish off your wrapping, you may not need to use tape. By not using tape, more of the wrapping paper can be reclaimed, and it’s easier for the recipient to save the wrapping for reuse.

Choose Alternatives to Commercial Gift Wrap

There are many options which are cost-free, attractive solutions. Gift bags can be made using fabric scraps or wrapping can be made using comic strips from the paper, old calendars, maps, posters and more. For more ideas, visit Gift-Wrapping Alternatives.

Reuse or Recycle Gift Packing Materials

Bubble wrap can be stored for reuse, or recycled. Foam packing chips are not as easily recycled; if you don’t want to store this material for reuse, take it to a shipping center like Mailboxes. etc, who will accept it for their own use. Cardboard boxes should be opened flat and set out for recycling; storing and reusing these boxes is even better as no additional energy is used in re-manufacturing.


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