Waste-Free Gifting

Vicky DeMercer
February 12, 2018

I’m passionate about minimizing my carbon footprint. I’ve tried almost everything — from using compostable trash bags to swapping paper towels for reusable ones to reducing the amount of harmful chemicals used in my home. Over the past few years, I wanted to get my family involved, but I wasn’t sure how to do it. Then, I had the best idea — I planned and purchased gifts based on my access to reusable wrapping. I’ve tried a couple different versions of waste-free giving. Here are a few of my favorites:

Recycled materials
Remember back in grade school when we used brown paper bags as book covers? I decided to do the same thing for gifts and it worked out great. Imagine my joy! Once all the presents are opened, I get to place that brown paper into the blue recycling bin. My mother even got into using recyclable materials to wrap gifts. She sent all my holiday gifts wrapped in empty cereal boxes.

I’d heard a lot about furoshiki, or Japanese cloth wrapping. After watching a few YouTube videos on making simple bags, I was ready to go. When family and friends’ birthdays rolled around, I wrapped all of their gifts in reusable wrapping. Best of all, everyone liked their gifts and the wrapping. In fact, my nephew in Portland uses his gift bags to organize this room.

Sadly, this holiday season crept up on me and I did’t have enough time to make the lovely wrapping cloths and bags I'd made in past. That’s when I figured out that not all gifts need to be wrapped. I skipped wrapping altogether for my colleagues and guess what? They still loved their gifts because they were given with the same holiday spirit.

Don’t be intimidated by waste-free gifting. Do some research to find the reusable materials that work best for you. Stay committed and remember that you’re doing something new, so you’ll make mistakes. Building new habits takes time, but if you’re committed to giving great gifts without the wasteful wrapping, the reward will be well worth the work.

Have you tried giving waste-free gifts? Tell us about your favorite method in the comments below.

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