PageLines- red-christmas-gifts.jpgIn an earlier blog post entitled, “Taking out the Trash, ” I mentioned that we are closing the loop on solid waste at Penn State by redirecting most of our trash to compost or recycling bins. In that same spirit, I am providing some helpful tips below for gift wrapping using recycling techniques. With a little creativity, we can continue to reduce, reuse, and recycle over the holidays!

1. Little Brown Bag

Paper bags from the grocery store can be turned inside out and then used as wrapping paper.  Add a colorful bow for flair!

2. What is white, black, and read all over?

Wrap your gifts in newspaper or the comics section. Both options give your gift a modern, artistic look.

3. These boots are made for walking… but one of these days this box will be given to you!

If you purchased a new pair of peep toe shoes for that holiday party, don’t throw out the box just yet! Wrap the top and bottom of the box separately with eco-friendly wrapping paper, newspaper, or paper bag. Tie the entire box with raffia or ribbon to complete the look!

4. Out shopping…

Tuck bulky items like sweaters in department store bags. The added bonus is that some department stores include tissue paper with your purchase. Reuse this too!

5. Try Bojagi or Furoshiki

Fabric can be used to make bags and wrap items of all shapes and sizes. Perhaps you have an old skirt, shirt, or sweater that you don’t need anymore. If you’d like to try this idea but want something exciting, try the Japanese art of gift wrapping called Furoshiki or the Korean art of Bojagi.

6. Skip the tape!

Should you decide to recycle your gift paper, it cannot be recycled with cellophane tape on it. Instead, secure the paper on your gifts using foil seals that can easily be removed before recycling. Another option would be to use paper labels (the ones that can be written on).

7. Can it!

Cans,  jars, and containers of all sorts can be used to hold small items, such as candy. Mason jars, which are usually used for canning food, give a rustic, homey feel to any gift. Tie the top of the container with colorful ribbon or raffia and you are done!

8. Give gifts like my father

It is truly the thought that counts! There may be times when you’d be better off not wrapping your gift at all! For example, a bottle of wine or large electronic such as a television, carries enough “wow” on its own!

9. Dot. com it!

Send Holiday greetings via email instead of mailing them. There are many websites that will allow you to send free Holiday cards. The other option would be to just send an email with a festive picture or quote in your signature line. Similarly, send monetary gifts to friends and family by electronic transfer or PayPal. Alternatively, you could send Holiday postcards as opposed to full-sized cards to places where it is better to mail a note than to email it. Purchase recyclable, biodegradable or recycled postcards.

10. Soy! Soy! Soy! And Happy Holidays to All!

For those who want to wrap their gifts with the traditional festive prints indicative of the season, purchase biodegradable and recycled/recyclable gift wrap printed with soy-based inks.

For more tips and pictures of others who have wrapped their gifts in eco-conscious ways, check out these sites:

Slideshow of stylish and sustainable gift wrap ideas

Pictures of eco-conscious gift ideas on Pinterest

So, how will you wrap your gifts this Holiday Season?

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2 Responses to Wrapping Gifts the Recycled Way

  1. Thanks for this timely post with lots of great eco-friendly tips for wrapping holiday presents! The slideshow of stylish and sustainable gift wrap ideas affirms that sustainable materials look just as beautiful as regular gift wrapping materials. I think the images are even more beautiful than your average present!

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