If you use any of these gift or wrapping tips this season, we want to know! Share your creativity and tag us on Facebook or Instagram at @keeptruckeegreen to win a free bamboo utensil set.

For many, the post-Christmas morning scene might look something like a paper snowball warzone. Once shiny Santa-patterned wrapping paper torn, crumpled and demoted in an instant to trash status, cast aside after fulfilling the most fleeting of lifetimes.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, Americans produce 25% more trash than during the rest of the year. And the gift-giving season is largely to blame. In our annual frenzy of well-intentioned consumption, we throw away 4 million tons of wrapping paper and shopping bags and 380,000 miles of ribbon – enough to wrap around the planet and tie a bow.

Unfortunately, much of the wrapping material we use is not even recyclable. Gift wrap that is dyed, laminated, or contains elements like glitter, foil, tape or plastic will end up in the landfill. The same goes for ribbon and tinsel. And more often than not, these materials are only used once before they are trashed.

The good news is that it’s easy to give sustainable gifts and to wrap them without using disposable materials. This year, you can reduce your footprint, save money and get creative with these sustainable gift and packaging tips!

Wrapping alternatives

  1. Brown paper bags – who doesn’t have a plethora of these in a cabinet somewhere? Dress them up with any of the recommended garnishes below.
  2. Newspaper and magazine pages add fun print and texture to any present.
  3. Fabric – this could be a tshirt, pillowcase, scarf, blanket or any scrap fabric you have lying around. Check out this link to learn how to tie fabric for any present shape without using tape.
  4. If you need to pack fragile materials, try using popcorn instead of packing peanuts (and give a bonus snack present!)

Ribbon alternatives

Instead of buying ribbon or plastic bows, use twine, string, fabric strips or make scrap paper bows that you can use again and again. If you already have ribbon, make sure to reuse it! For garnishes, small pine needle branches, flowers, dried oranges, cinnamon sticks, cookies, brooches, bracelets or cutouts from old holiday cards are all great options.

Join the movement!

Members of the TTUSD Envirolution Club and Green Teams have advice on how to go green this holiday season. Consider these sustainable gifts and crafts that are low impact and help others live greener lifestyles too. A win-win!

To gift a DIY beeswax food wrap kit to your loved ones, buy one from the Truckee Roundhouse website. These wraps are a great alternative to plastic wrap or tinfoil and can be used over and over to keep your food fresh.

If you use any of these gift or wrapping tips this season, we want to know! Share your creativity and tag us at @keeptruckeegreen on Facebook or Instagram to win a free bamboo utensil set. Happy wrapping!

Envirolution students share their tips for a Zero Waste holiday season

Cover image links: here, here, here, here, here

By: Sara Sherburne, CivicSpark Fellow