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Guest Post: Eco-Cheap Guide to Gift Wrapping

Written By: Jenn - Dec• 20•09

Hello all! I’m Chanda, The Eco-Cheap Mom. Since I am guest posting today as the winner of the Haiku Challenge held a few weeks back, I figured I should start off with a little haiku.

Reduce, Reuse, and
Recycle for a Most Green
Holiday Season!

‘Tis the season to waste according to Household waste increases 25 percent during the months of November and December. Up to 1 million more tons per week are added to landfills. This waste includes shopping bags, food waste, packaging, wrapping paper and accessories.

Half of the paper used each year is for wrapping gifts. Gift-wrap and shopping bags alone add up to four million tons of waste each season. In addition, thirty-eight thousand miles of ribbon gets thrown away each year. That’s enough to go around the earth once…and then some!

Wow! Those are some staggering numbers! I’m ashamed to admit that I helped to contribute to that waste every year, but not this year. And you too can reduce your contribution to all that waste by adopting any or all of these ways to a greener holiday season!

1) Wrap with newspaper, paper bags, maps, or magazines. For a decorative touch, use either hemp string or raffia instead of ribbon. For even more interest, add some natural touches like pine cones, a sprig of evergreen, or some holly. You can also cut up old cards and use them for gift tags.
Try to keep the recipient in mind when choosing which section you choose. For example, all of the kids gifts are wrapped in either the comic section or the colorful sales circulars from Toy’s-R-Us. Fashion magazines make beautiful wrapping for the fashion conscious teen.

2) Wrap gifts with fabric. Cloth napkins are the perfect size for smaller gifts. Pillow cases for bigger gifts.

3) Use reusable shopping bags as gift bags. There are all sorts of reusable bags available, from basic to super chic. These bags from EnviroVogue(see right, photo courtesy of EnviroVogue) are some of my favorites. Not only are you being green by not using wrapping paper, you are helping to promote the green lifestyle. Just be sure to explain that the bag is intended to reuse.

4) Wrap a gift with a gift. For example, use a scarf or blanket to wrap another gift. Or use a bucket to hold gardening supplies. Use your imagination, the options are limitless!

 5) Reuse shipping boxes and decorate by letting your kids paint or draw on them. Or if you are the artsy type, try decoupaging them. You could also buy some holiday themed stamps and ink and stamp the designs on the box.

6) Use recycled wrapping paper printed with soy-based inks rather than the conventional petroleum-based inks, like these found at Greenfield Paper. Gorgeous and eco-concious!

7) Save gift bags, wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons to reuse next year…and the next!

This year, my gifts are wrapped in a combination of most of the above ideas. I found it to be a fun challege to wrap each gift, keeping the recipient in mind, and using whatever I could find around the house. The gifts adorned with greenery were my favorite, being the simple girl that I am, but I really liked using the pretty pages from magazines, too. The easiest, of course, was using previously used gift bags!

I am interested to see my family’s reaction to my green gift wrapping. They already think I’m a little weird so it may not be much of a surprise. A few “cheap” shots are expected! However they react, I can take it. I know that I am doing good for the environment and my wallet, and that I wrapped each gift with lots of love. As far as I’m concerned, that’s all that matters! And hey, if they don’t like it, then no gifts for them next year! :)

I think they look pretty good!

One thing to remember: Whether you green up your holiday, a little or a lot, every little bit helps!

Happy Holiday’s!
I hope you have a most joyous and green holiday season!

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  1. Erin says:

    What wonderful ideas! I’m all for being green, as you know. I hate how much paper we all waste. Drives me batty! THanks so much for sharing this!
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..friday freak out. fabulous FAIL. =-.

  2. Lynn says:

    Great guest post, Chanda. I love all of your ideas, especially the natural touches.

  3. Melissa B. says:

    Then I guess you and Jen will be super-proud of me. I’m on a little mini-vaycay. Today I took a large garbage bag down to the beach and went on a 2-mile hike, filling the bag as I walked with plastic, plastic and more plastic. Then I came back to the house and recycled. Great guest post…say “hi” to Jen for me…
    .-= Melissa B.´s last blog ..That’s a Wrap! =-.