During the stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, Americans throw away 25% more trash than any other time of the year. That extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons per week!
Treat the planet and your wallet with kindness by resisting the urge to load up on store-bought gift wrap and tissue paper. Instead, get crafty with reusable packaging or supplies you already have and keep landfill waste to a minimum.
Black and white never goes out of style. For a classic look, wrap a present in recycled newspaper and tie it up with a black ribbon to keep the effect sophisticated.
Let reusable totes double as gift bags. The totes can be used time and time again by the recipient when grocery shopping, and you’ll get bonus points for giving two gifts instead of one.
Brown Paper Bags
There was a time—before we got wiser and invested in reusable tote bags, see above—when the majority of groceries were hauled home in brown bags. Let’s be real, we still occasionally request paper when we’ve forgotten our totes at home. Cut along the seams to get a flat canvas, blank side out. Brown paper wrapping looks so rustic and charming.
Recycled Aluminum Foil
Do you like shiny objects as much as we do? SQUIRREL! If so, opt for recycled aluminum foil for a metallic look that will add some sparkle to your packaging.
Baby food jars make the perfect gift-giving vessel for small items like jewelry or candy (umm, how CUTE are these single serve hot chocolate jars?). Remove the label and thoroughly wash the jar. To personalize the package and obscure the contents, glue recycled paper around the outside. Customize with a note or drawing.
A beautiful and unique way to wrap gifts. Watch for sales on large scarves throughout the year and use these to wrap gifts for moms, sisters and female friends as they can use the scarf as well. Two gifts in one and no waste!
If you have outdated maps around the house, consider using them to wrap gifts before sending them off to recycling. Maps make beautiful wrapping paper and children often love looking at the maps before opening their gifts.