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Reducing Holiday Waste by Using Less Wrapping Paper

You can be creative with your gift-wrapping without using new paper and ribbons. Decorating different containers and repurposing them to contain gifts is good for the environment and also makes the gifts more memorable.

Did you ever roll your eyes on gift-giving occasions, when Grandma would carefully loosen ribbons and slip a fingernail under tape so as not to tear the paper? Before she even acknowledged the present, she’d tenderly roll up the ribbon and fold the wrapping so it could be used again.

Unfortunately, the reverence-for-paper gene hasn’t yet kicked in for a lot of people — especially during the holidays. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, household waste increases by 25 percent — and a lot of that is gift wrap.

You can steer clear of purpose-made wrapping paper — thereby saving lots of money and doing your part to save the trees.

Of course, like Grandma, you can reuse the gift bags and boxes that you’ve received from others. But it’s a lot more fun to get creative by using the following ideas:

  • Old tea tins or canning jars for tiny items;

  • Cereal boxes;

  • Decorated shoeboxes;

  • Comics and magazine pages.

Perhaps the wrapping can become part of the gift: a scarf, guest towel, or pillow cover. Even plain old newspaper and brown bags become festive when block-stamped or sprinkled with glitter.

Friends and family will be delighted by the ingenuity of your wrap of choice. And if they don’t give it the respect that Grandma would have shown? That’s okay—when they’re focused on their present, grab the wrappings to reuse another time.

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