Kitty McIlroy, Student Intern, Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management
Senior, Goucher College Environmental Studies Major
When it comes time for holiday shopping, often it becomes a rush to find last minute gifts for family members and friends. If you plan ahead a little, you can avoid the quick purchase of a generic holiday card, store-bought wrapping paper or a gift bag. If you’re like me, and feel guilty about this extra waste, then keeping a few holiday wrapping tips in mind will transform your holiday habits and keep your environmental conscience at ease. These “green” ideas provide a low-to-zero waste way to wrap and give presents to your loved ones this holiday season. Enjoy!
Waste Reduction and Recycling Tips for Holiday Wrapping:
Reuse items such as packaging peanuts or take them to local mailing/shipping stores. Try to reuse all previous holiday wrapping items, even glass jars and tins. Get creative and use old maps, sheet music, comics, newspaper, calendars, magazines, shopping or plain paper bags and extra wallpaper to decorate your packages. Make your own wrapping paper by painting or drawing some original art with personal messages to make a one-of-a-kind gift. Even something like a nice cloth or bandana can be used as wrapping, and it can also be part of the present.
Back To Nature:
You can also purchase cards and wrapping materials made from 100% recycled paper. Also, don’t forget material such as banana fiber “paper” and designs printed with soy-based inks. These materials eventually can be composted. Just by stepping outside you can find natural alternatives to store-bought bows by using sprigs of berries, holly, pine cones or shells. Additional decorations can come from organic materials such as leaves, ivy, lavender, rosemary or cinnamon sticks. You can even purchase wrapping paper made with wildflower seeds. These seeds can be planted after being unwrapped. Finally, when wrapping a present, natural twine or yarn can serve as an alternative to ribbons and petroleum based tape, and twine and yarn are reusable.
Crafty Card Ideas:
Reuse old cards to make gift tags or holiday postcards or take the old cards to organizations that will reuse them. Try making your own gift cards out of recycled paper or using zero-waste alternatives like “e-cards.”
I hope this spurs your creativity and prompts you to craft some wonderful, eco-friendly wrapping designs. Send a picture of your handiwork to firstname.lastname@example.org and it might get posted online! Good Luck and Happy Holidays.