Although now is the time we love to give most, the holidays aren’t always a gift to the planet. Canadians generate tonnes and tonnes of waste from ribbons, bows, disposable decorations, wrapping, and other holiday-related items every single year. Most of these are very hard to recycle and wind up straight in the landfill.
Gift wrapping is an easy place to start in the reduction of our holiday waste! We’re choosing low or zero-waste gift wrapping options wherever we can. These techniques can help you rethink your wrap!
Newspaper or Kraft paper
Ok, this one is slightly old-school. But if you’re still getting newspapers, or frequently pass by bins stuffed full with last week’s paper, grab a bundle! If you have them lying around, you can also use old maps. Wrapping with newspaper gives the paper a second life before getting sent off to the recycling plant.
Kraft paper is easy to find at post offices and craft stores, and does not have the same difficult-to-recycle plastic coating or foils that most conventional gift wrapping contains.
Both are very easily recycled, especially if we use paper-based washi tape in lieu of plastic tape, or forego the tape entirely in favour of binding the package with twine. Both newspaper and kraft paper look elegant and chic, especially when decorated with your favourite natural materials!
Save your old pickle jars, or take a peek at these beautiful containers from Weck. This is particularly useful if you plan on DIYing a present, like a homemade baked treat, these DIY moon rocks, or this sleep balm, because the very container you store the item can be the gift itself!
Those who plan on checking out our new Refill Station at our 109th street location can also benefit from beautifying a jar. Fill it up with any of our many natural, organic, and plant-based home & beauty goods, and customize with essential oils however you please.
Bind the jar with a big, beautiful bow, a handmade tag, and forego the wrapping paper completely. The best part is that once your loved one has enjoyed the item, the jar can be easily cleaned out and used again. Sending your gifts in a reusable (and recyclable) jar is both trendy and good for the planet!
The average Canadian throws out 81 pounds, nearly 37 kg, of textiles every year (1). The new clothing industry alone is heavily consumptive of natural resources, including water. Next time you’re considering throwing out a shirt that doesn’t fit anymore, or that rustic burlap sack, think about how it can be repurposed: tucking it away until holiday time is a lovely way to extend the life of your old fabrics. Simply lay down the clean fabric and nestle your gift in the center. Lift the fabric from opposing corners and tie into a simple bundle. Secure with a ribbon, pin, or decorate further with found natural materials.
Reusable bags & baskets
A present within a present. Tuck your gift inside a reusable bag, such as these lovely reusable lunch bags from Danica Studios, or cotton produce bags from Now Designs, Dans Le Sac, or Vegibag. All are made sustainably with the intention of repeated use, so even after your gift has been opened, the bag can be repurposed for snacks, shopping, and storage!
For more sizable gifts, these French market baskets from Socco are functional and timelessly beautiful. Ethically handwoven by Moroccan artisans, this basket can be stuffed full with all the lovely goodies you’re gifting to your loved one. When the unwrapping is complete, the basket will last for countless trips to the market and many more holidays to come.
Decorate with nature
Say “no” to plastic bows! Go for a walk instead. Forage for pine cones, berries, and cedar or pine branches. These are truly biodegradable, look beautiful, and can be returned to the earth with little to no effort. Try making your own bows with recycled newspaper, magazines, or scrap fabric. Keep the package simple by tying with a spool of string and attaching a bough of greenery. Cinnamon sticks, dried orange peels, or twigs of rosemary look elegant and smell phenomenal.
Wrapping with less does not mean less beautiful. These eco-friendly gifting ideas are a simple way to reduce your carbon footprint without sacrificing holiday cheer!
(1) The average person throws away 37 kilograms of textiles annually. (2019, December 24). Retrieved November 03, 2020, from https://rco.on.ca/the-average-person-throws-away-37-kilograms-of-textiles-annually/