Updated: Jul 25, 2020
It's holiday season! And if you are like me, shopping does anything but put me in the holiday mood. I really don't care for shopping as it is, and during the holiday season it is even worse. So many people, so many lines. Anyone else extremely thankful the internet exists now so we can do all of our shopping online? But even with that, holiday shopping, doesn't get me in the spirit, if anything it really stresses me out. What gift to get everyone, Will they like it? How Much am I spending? Am I spending enough? Am I getting enough? And the list of overthinking I go through could send anyone into an anxiety attack, but we won't go there.
What gets me into the spirit, is usually gift wrapping, but that changed last year. I began trying to live a more eco-friendly life, and was naively surprised to learn that the majority of gift wrap and even gift bags are not recyclable. Did you know that people in the U.S, spent a total of $12.7 BILLION on gift wrap, including wrapping paper, tissue paper and gift bags in 2017? $12.7 Billion in the U.S. ALONE. What a waste. This is designed to be torn into shreds and tossed away in less than 60 seconds.
During production, many dyes and inks are added to the paper to give them their festive touch, and many brands also use a special kind of lamination, making it impossible to recycle, and don't get me started about glitter. GROSS. Due to these laminated inks and dyes, the majority of gift wrap will end up in landfill sites. Honestly, now a days, who wants to add something to the landfill that you literally use for such a short time. Since the the majority of gift wrap contains foils, films and plastics; it can take decades for these to decompose, and thats only if it makes it to an actual landfill site.
So you think to yourself, okay I will just burn the gift wrap to get rid of it. Please let me stop you right there, DO NOT BURN YOUR WRAPPING PAPER. Because of the plastics and dyes, burning your wrapping paper on your Christmas fire will cause these toxic gasses to be released into our atmosphere.
Now, if you are anything like me, you save gift bags and gift boxes that you've received and reuse them. Theres nothing better than when you have a last minute gift, and already have all the wrapping at your fingertips. Sure go ahead and reuse them, don't just go and throw it out. The first step to becoming more sustainable and eco-friendly, is actually using what you already have. You can't be upset with yourself that you saved 6 gift bags from last year that you received, and can repurpose them for gifts this year. Give yourself a high five, because you stopped those 6 bags from turning into food for small deer, or decorating the side of the road. Always use what you already have, but don't buy anymore of it. And if you receive it as a gift, hold on to it and try to reuse it. Otherwise, stop buying it. There are so many other options. And really, the cost you could save from these expensive decorative plastic bags could go to splurging say a beautiful smelling zero waste candle.
Last year, I refused to buy wrapping paper, or gift bags for the holidays. I used what I already had, and anything else I used 100% recycled Kraft wrapping paper, bags and tissue paper! At first, I was a little disappointed because it looked very blah. Sure the Bags weren't bad, add a nice pop of color from a 100% recycled tissue paper, and you can get away with it. But the gifts that I wrapped, where especially looking lame and disappointing. I knew for the adults it didn't matter, but I wanted to make sure that for my nieces and nephews, there was festivity on the outside. I mean really how cute are these penguins though?
So I already know what you are thinking, I'm not crafty, I'm not an artist. And I get it, I'm not an artist, while I do love to create with my hands. This penguin was actually probably the easiest painting i've ever tried! I looked all over the website and couldn't find the tutorial that I used, Would you be interested in me creating one? If so--leave us a note and say show me how! Make sure to subscribe to our mailing list so you are alerted with our next Blog Post about 7 unique ways to wrap presents! Read more about Sustainability here!
with love and shanti,