To Wrap or Not To Wrap: Minimizing Waste Over the Holidays

Here’s some tips on how to be a little greener this holiday season, without losing some of the magic of those pretty boxes and bags under the tree.

Many of my fond memories of holidays past involve me eagerly tearing away wrapping paper to find a surprise underneath – sometimes unwrapping was half as good as the gift itself. But as I get older, I feel an increasing level of guilt every time my eye is caught by the pretty papers at the store – isn’t this just adding to waste? How can I justify buying something that will have so little use?

This year I’ve decided on a bit of a half measure, which is to wrap (with paper I already have) the gifts for the young children in my life, and to use only reusable things for adults or any I’m not positive will appreciate it. When you’re trying to go green it’s ok to do it in stages – every little bit helps.

So here’s some tips on how to be a little greener this holiday season, without losing some of the magic of those pretty boxes and bags under the tree.

Knot Wrap

It's Christmas Deer
It’s Christmas Deer wrap from LUSH – sweet little retro vibe!

Knot Wrap has grown in popularity here the past couple years, but it’s not a new concept. LUSH states it nicely on their website;

“Based on the Japanese tradition of Furoshiki, Knot-Wraps are a great way to wrap any gift. Made from either organic cotton or two recycled plastic bottles, each one of our beautiful Knot-Wraps is extremely kind to the environment. And the best part? They’re meant to be used again and again as a scarf, accessory or tote, so it’s a bit like giving two gifts in one. How thoughtful of you!”

LUSH.ca

Natural Ribbons

Not only pretty and eco-friendly, you can let friends know their gift is wrapped in artisanal ribbon, because we all know the true meaning of Christmas is giving the best gift.

Probably 90% of my gifts as a kid can wrapped in that thin plastic curling ribbon that has been virtually unchanged since my parents were kids – until now! Admittedly, it’s a bit on the pricey side, but this seems to be a very pretty eco-alternative to that oh-so-synthetic stuff we all know.

Our artisanal ribbon maker in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is committed to the highest levels of sustainability. They use water-based dyes, soy-based non-toxic inks, and cotton yarn that is 100% grown and dyed in the USA. 

wrappily.com

Joy Wrap

joywrap x Sarah Gunn Collection
Hurray for adorable, diverse Santas! They also have some more winter and less Christmas themed bags.

Made here in Canada, these reusable sacks are washer, dryer and iron safe, and come in a variety of cute patterns – PLUS you can make your own. Who doesn’t want a bag with your face plastered all over it? Reuse them next year, store xmas decorations in it, use it to make your laundry more festive – the possibilities are endless. The best part? Made here in Canada.

With joywrap, you never have to throw wrapping paper away again.
A 2017 study by Zero Waste Canada found that more than 540,000 tonnes of wrapping paper ends up in Canadian landfills after the holidays.

That’s the equivalent weight of about 100,000 elephants of wrapping paper trash each year!

joywrap makes all the same fun sounds as traditional wrapping paper, but without any the waste.

Reuse joywrap as part of your family traditions or give it away as part of a gift.

IT’S TIME TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE WAY YOU WRAP.

JoyWrap.ca

DIY It

Christmas gift wrapping ideas
Brown paper packages tied up with string…

Ultimately, the most sustainable item is the one that already exists. Try reusing old newspapers, or magazines, have children decorate some brown packing paper with their own cute holiday designs. Attach natural items like cedar twigs, or pinecones – really the only limit is your imagination. And when you make something like this by hand, the person receiving it can really see the effort and care you put into it, which always makes it that much better.

Greenpeace has a great article on some ways to wrap presents without having to buy any wrapping – check it out here.

Got some eco-friendly wrapping ideas of your own? Let us know in the comments.

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