by Chelsea Moreno, CSUF Communications Student
The holidays are nearing meaning food, family, and gifts galore, but as friends and family gather, so does waste. According to the EPA, the holidays create 1 million extra tons of waste in the United States, a whopping 25 percent increase in just two short months. It’s never been more important or easy to reduce waste and have yourself a green, little Christmas.
One way to start making your holiday’s eco-friendly is to reuse gift wrap. Whether it be old bags, boxes, paper or ribbons from Christmases past, reusing them saves them from the landfill and saves you money. Try using twine (it’s recyclable and compostable!), paper ribbon, and fresh foliage from your yard to spruce up your gifts with rustic holiday charm.
Lori Whalen, Director of Communications at the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach, suggested reusing boxes and customizing gift wrap by up-cycling old paper materials that fit the personality of your loved ones. Use old maps for an adventurer, newspaper for a classy, old gentleman, magazine pages from your recipients favorite publications, comic strips are perfect for those who make you laugh, or even comic books for the nerd in your life.
“I wouldn’t mind getting a gift wrapped in newspaper,” said Burt Bates, who does not often recycle. “Seems kind of cheap, but it could still look cool.”
If store-bought wrapping is a must for last minute gifts, try buying gift bags or boxes that won’t get damaged when opened and aren’t holiday specific. This might ensure reuse for the next time your recipient needs to give a gift themselves.
Gifts can also go green! Whalen said, “This year I’m giving ChicoBags to lots of people. Now that the plastic bag ban has been passed, what better gift to give than reusable bags?”
These stylish bags, made from recycled materials, are ideal for bringing along when shopping because they fold up easily and can be stored in a purse, pocket, or glove compartment. Skip the gift wrapping and use them as gift bags by filling them with that person’s favorite goodies or homemade treats. Not only does this save the time you would have spent gift wrapping, it also eliminates gift wrap waste completely.
“I’d be interested [in reusable gift wrap] because we just buy paper to rip it off or buy bags with tissue paper and it’s so wasteful and pointless,” said Inland Empire resident Gabby Salcedo. “I like the idea of the tote bags or anything that can be reused.”
Whalen suggests introducing friends and family to local restaurants you think they would enjoy by buying them a gift card. This thoughtful gift creates little waste and is a great way to support local businesses.
If that doesn’t fit your gift-giving needs, using AmazonSmile is a great way to purchase gifts and give back. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon service, but by visiting smile.amazon.com, 0.5% of your purchase price is donated to a charitable organization of your choice. AmazonSmile is available year-round, so make sure to bookmark it and do good every time you make a purchase.