To help cut the holiday waste, here are a few things you can do to continue minimizing your total waste impact.
First, let's tackle wrapping paper.
When buying gift wrapping supplies, we generally see three categories of single use wrapping paper:
Glittery or foil inlaid/shiny paper
Printed wrapping paper
Plain unprinted paper - white or kraft
While pretty designs and glitter are always more appealing, the most recyclable option is…you guessed it – plain unprinted paper. There’s also the option of buying paper already labeled “recyclable”, but the best way to go is borrowing a gift-wrapping tip from the Japanese culture. In Japan, gifts are wrapped in multi-functional cloths! Even though the cloths are used to wrap gifts, recipients can then take the cloth and use it for something else!
The second way to lower holiday waste is skipping the wrapping paper and boxes altogether. Instead, opt for gift bags!
Even if the gift bag can’t be recycled, they can almost always be reused! All you have to do is let your friends and family know to save the bag or bring them back to you after they would have opened their holiday gifts.
Again, the fancier the bags or the paper, the less recyclable it becomes.
Cardboard and paper boxes
Plain wrapping paper
Plain paper gift bags
Plain holiday cards and envelopes
Plastic bubble wrap, air pillows and foam packaging
Ribbons and bows
Gift bags or wrapping paper that is anything other than plain