I’ve made it a personal policy to never buy wrapping paper for gifts. Yes, I am one of those people who — if it’s pretty paper — will carefully unstick the tape while opening a gift, fold it nicely and set it aside. Annoying, right? But why spend money on something that you can get for free? Buying single-use wrapping paper or gift bags is not exactly environmentally friendly. Giftwrap is not a great candidate for recycling since it is often dyed or laminated, has sparkles or metallic finishes, is very thin (and therefore provides very little fibre for recycling) and usually has tape on it.
It’s not hard, over the year, to keep whatever gift bags, salvageable wrapping paper, tissue paper and cool cards come your way and store them in a small box. Cards can be cut up and made into gift tags.
Get creative: wrap gifts in newspaper (the Martlet makes great giftwrap!) and tie with a reused ribbon. You don’t need to be Martha Stewart to make a gift look nice; some reused tissue and a gift bag work great.
Those feeling a little more ambitious can employ “furoshiki” — a Japanese word for a square of fabric used to wrap gifts. You can find the fancy, origami-inspired techniques for folding furoshiki online. Or you can do what I do and just tie the four corners in a knot and hope for the best.
With a little effort, you can help reduce the tonnes of giftwrap and cards that end up in the landfill each year, especially around the holidays. So get your craft on and start stockpiling Martlets for your holiday needs.
If you have some good tips of your own, just let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Pictures of Eco Tips realizations are definitely welcomed as well!