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Be Mindful About Your Gifting With These Zero Waste Gift Wrapping Tips

3 min read

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, American household waste increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day—and part of that is all the gift-wrapping materials we’re using to gussy up our packages. Now, it’s easy for landfills to be the enemy of focus with this increase of trash, but zero-waste writer and organizer Celia Ristow believes more attention should be put on how the uptick impacts climate change. It takes oil to transport the resources needed for new wrapping materials, she notes. So it’s not just about how much we’re using, but where it comes from.

How can we combat our holiday environmental footprint? Celia, who writes about her zero-waste journey on her site Litterless, says it’s about reusing as much as it is about being mindful of where our wrapping and packaging comes from. By keeping new material out of the production cycle, she says, the oil used for the transportation of these resources can be reduced.

But, she also knows zero waste can be daunting to the average person. “Zero waste is my job but I still certainly can’t do it perfectly,” she says. She aims to retell the zero-waste narrative so overwhelming absolutes are excluded. By portraying sustainable practices in an accessible way, Celia makes it easier to adapt our habits—including holiday traditions.

Keep reading for Celia’s low-stress, zero-waste gift wrapping tips. Adopting even one of these suggestions can make a bigger difference than you think.

Use Paper Tape

This season, invest in a few rolls of paper tape (also known as washi tape). Unlike plastic tape, this biodegradable alternative won’t stick around after it’s thrown out. Purchase it in a variety of styles, widths and thicknesses to compliment your wrapping. When it’s time to dispose of it, toss it in a compost bin! The tape will naturally return to the earth where it came from.

Keep a Paper Closet

Instead of disposing of packaging materials every time you receive something in the mail, save them! Keep an eye out for leftover string and bows to adorn gifts as well. Set aside a corner of your closet for all these second-chance materials. Next time a gift needs to be wrapped, all the supplies will be in one place, making the process easy and stress-free.

Wrap the Gift With Part of the Gift

For those who might not appreciate a gift wrapped in recycled materials, try a reusable tote bag. Not only will the bag preserve an element of surprise, it may also be useful to the friend receiving it. As a bonus, the cute tote could inspire zero-waste shopping in the future!

If a tote bag feels tacky for the setting of the party, use a beautiful tea towel to wrap the gift instead. This classy way to wrap a gift looks nice, and the wrapping itself is useful.

Buy or sew reusable cloth wrapping

To go above and beyond, seek out cloth wrapping. It takes time and planning to accumulate materials, but once the fabric has been collected, wrapping a gift will only take seconds. Check out the Japanese art of furoshiki for some creative and quick wrapping ideas.

When furoshiki isn’t the right fit, buy or sew a reusable fabric gift bag. A simple drawstring design is easy and adorable.

Be Creative

When looking to wrap gifts zero waste, Celia likes to encourage creativity. Don’t be limited to the ideas of others. Scheme original ideas to add an element of surprise. Any efforts made to reduce waste won’t go unnoticed. By becoming a zero-waste trailblazer for your family and friends, you can show them how achievable sustainability can be.

Looking for other ways to increase your mindfulness? Try these nine tips for mindfulness at home.

About The Author

McKenzie Van Loh

McKenzie Van Loh

McKenzie Van Loh is passionate about holistic health and wellness. She graduated from Bethel University with a BA in journalism because she loves enabling others to learn as well. She plans to pursue her certification in health coaching—her dream career since age 17. In her free time, McKenzie loves running, writing and sewing.

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